Macular degeneration is a common age-related eye disorder that can lead to blindness if left untreated. At his practice in Asheville, North Carolina, board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Steven L. Cahan offers expert diagnosis and treatments for macular degeneration that could save your eyesight. If you have a family history of macular degeneration or if you’re due for an eye exam, call or schedule an appointment online today.
Macular degeneration is an eye condition where damage to your retina disrupts your central vision. Your macula is the part of the retina that allows you to see what’s in front of you. When you have macular degeneration, your peripheral vision is unaffected, but your central vision is blurry or clouded.
There are two types of macular degeneration.
Dry macular degeneration is the more common type of the condition, comprising approximately 80% of diagnoses. Your macula thins as you get older and microscopic clumps of protein called drusen develop.
Wet macular degeneration is much less common, but more serious. It develops when blood vessels grow under your retina and leak blood or other fluid into your eye, which causes scarring on your macula. It causes more rapid vision loss than dry macular degeneration.
In some cases, macular degeneration occurs because your macula becomes thinner as you get older. However, other factors contribute to your risk of developing this condition. For example, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, your risk increases. Other risk factors include:
Dr. Cahan uses a variety of tests to diagnose macular degeneration. Diagnosis typically begins with a visual acuity test that measures your vision at different distances.
Dr. Cahan will also dilate your pupils so he can look at the back of your eye using an ophthalmoscope to examine your retina. He uses retinal imaging to take digital images to study your retina in close detail.
He may also use a test involving injecting a yellow dye called fluorescein into your blood so he can monitor its movement through the blood vessels in your eyes.
Currently, there is no known treatment for dry macular degeneration although studies have shown that certain nutritional supplements like vitamins C and E, lutein, zinc, and copper can slow the disease. Dr. Cahan monitors your condition with regular eye exams.
If you have wet macular degeneration, Dr. Cahan offers anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medications to reduce the abnormal blood vessels in your eye. He injects the medication directly into your eyeball with a thin needle. In some cases, laser treatment is suitable to treat wet macular degeneration.
If you’re concerned about macular degeneration, call or schedule a consultation online today.