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.
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:
- Straight lines appearing distorted
- The center vision becomes distorted
- Dark areas appear in the center of vision
- Blurry areas appear in the center of vision
- White areas appear in the center of vision
- Color perception becomes diminished
- Changes in color perception occur
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.