North County Laser Eye Associates

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration, more commonly known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD, is the leading cause of severe vision loss among people over the age of 60. It occurs when the macula (the small central portion of the retina) deteriorates. Macular degeneration typically occurs as a result of aging, which is why it is commonly referred to as age-related macular degeneration. Patients who smoke, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or are obese may be at increased risk of developing macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is also thought to be hereditary.

While patients may experience significant vision loss as a result of macular degeneration, most patients will not experience a complete loss of vision. Because macular degeneration can result in severe vision loss, it is important to undergo routine eye examinations if you are at risk for developing the condition. Our Carlsbad laser eye surgery center can often detect macular degeneration through comprehensive eye examinations. Early detection of macular degeneration is vital to controlling its progress. When detected early enough, there are treatments available to delay the onset of the condition.

If you are concerned that you may be at risk for developing macular degeneration, please schedule an examination with our Carlsbad eye specialist today.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

In the early stages of macular degeneration, patients may not experience any noticeable symptoms. Because of this, macular degeneration may not be diagnosed until it has affected both eyes and patients begin to experience vision problems. The most common symptoms of macular degeneration are:

Dry Form of Macular Degeneration

The dry form of macular degeneration is the most common form of macular degeneration. Most patients with macular degeneration have the dry form. In the dry form of macular degeneration, drusen (yellow deposits) are present in the macula. When only a small amount of drusen is present, it may not affect vision. Once the drusen increases in size and in number, vision can be significantly impacted. As the dry form of macular degeneration progresses, vision may become severely distorted. Patients may find it difficult to adjust to dimly lit rooms and may also need extra light when reading. During the advanced stages of the dry form of macular degeneration, patients may develop blind spots in the center of their vision. Carlsbad macular degeneration patients may lose their central vision altogether if the condition progresses to its most advanced stage.

Wet Form of Macular Degeneration

The wet form of macular degeneration is especially dangerous as it may lead to the permanent loss of central vision. In the wet form of macular degeneration, there is a growth of abnormal blood vessels stemming from the choroid under the macula. These abnormal blood vessels leak blood and other fluids into the retina. As a result of this, vision becomes distorted. Unfortunately, the blood vessel leakage leads to scarring, which can eventually result in the permanent loss of central vision.

Contact North County Laser Eye Associates

To learn more about macular degeneration, or to schedule an examination, please contact North County Laser Eye Associates today.