Macular degeneration is a common eye condition in older adults. In fact, it is also called age-related macular degeneration.
What happens in macular degeneration?
The macula is part of your retina, the delicate tissue at the back of your eye where images form. If you think of your eye as a theater, the retina is the movie screen. The macula is at the center of this screen, and it is responsible for things at the center of your vision.
Time or other factors, such as smoking cigarettes, can harm the macula so it begins to break down. This is called “degeneration.”
There are two forms of macular degeneration: “wet” and “dry.” In the wet form, abnormal blood vessels form in the macula. They are not healthy blood vessels, so they tend to break and bleed. This causes vision problems. This form of macular degeneration can damage your sight very quickly.
In the dry form, small deposits form in the macula. Like the extra blood vessels that form in wet AMD, the deposits are abnormal and harm your vision. The medical term for them is “drusen.”
Can macular degeneration be treated?
The wet form can be treated with injections of medicine into the eye. This can stop the process of new blood vessels developing and breaking.
The dry form cannot be treated, but it may be slowed down. Taking certain vitamins has been proven to slow its progress.
How your eye doctor can help
Dr. Jennifer Lyons has treated many patients with both wet and dry macular degeneration. She can tell you which type you have and what treatments are possible. If you have the dry form, she and her staff can help you find the vitamins that help and take the right amounts.
Everyone with macular degeneration needs regular eye examinations and tests to learn how the disease is affecting their vision. Help is available even if you start losing the vision you need for everyday activities. We may ask you to see a doctor who specializes in helping people with low vision by prescribing certain lights, reading devices, or new ways of doing things that help you keep enjoying life.
Learn more about macular degeneration from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Learn how doctors find and treat macular degeneration from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.