Macular degeneration is a large group of eye diseases affecting the macula, the small group of retinal cells responsible for your central vision. Age-related macular degeneration, by far the most common kind of macular degeneration, affects around 11 million adults in America today. Veena Arun, MD, and Varun Pawar, MD, at University Ophthalmology in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, offer today's most advanced diagnostics and treatments for age-related macular degeneration, and they're ready to help you. Reach out online or by phone today.
Dry age-related macular degeneration afflicts 80% of age-related macular degeneration sufferers. In this form of the disease, clumps of protein known as drusen accumulate in your macula, and the macula starts thinning. This causes the cells in your macula to start breaking down.
Often, symptoms are very subtle, as this disease develops very slowly. You might experience blurry vision, decrease in color intensity, or increased difficulty driving as your dry age-related macular degeneration develops.
Wet age-related macular degeneration is a more aggressive form of the disease in which abnormal new blood vessels start growing beneath your retina. These blood vessels are too fragile to be viable, so they frequently rupture and leak.
The extra fluid from this leakage moves the macula out of place, often causing scarring. This impedes retinal function to cause blurry vision and, potentially, vision loss. Wet age-related macular degeneration can move much faster than the dry form of the disease. You might suddenly develop very blurry vision, or you may notice that straight lines now look wavy.
Both dry and wet age-related macular degeneration usually begin in one eye, and then move to the other eye, too.
The cause isn't definitively known, but certain risk factors are clear. The number-one risk factor is age, with men and women over 60 being most at-risk. Other potential risk factors include:
A family history of age-related macular degeneration could also raise your risk for the disease.
Your University Ophthalmology physician uses a variety of diagnostic tools like visual acuity tests, a slit-lamp exam, the Amsler grid, and a retina exam to determine what type of age-related macular degeneration you have and how advanced it is. Then, they design a management plan for you.
At this time, there aren't any treatments for dry age-related macular degeneration. In some cases, high-dose supplements taken in a specific combination, including zinc and copper among other supplements, can help.
Wet age-related macular degeneration treatment can include photodynamic therapy, laser therapy, and intraocular injections, depending on your symptoms. Your ophthalmologist can help you maximize your vision.
With help from University Ophthalmology, you can delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Book your appointment online or by phone now.