Macular Degeneration Diagnosis and Treatment at Our Lubbock Optometry Center
Macular degeneration is a particular form of retinal disease that produces a particularly vexing problem -- the gradual, permanent loss of your central field of vision. This age-related condition is responsible for more cases of vision loss in the United States than cataracts and glaucoma put together. To add insult to injury, you may suffer extensive, irreversible damage to your eyes before you even notice any vision changes. Fortunately, our optometrists at Ginter Eyecare Center in Lubbock, TX can check for this condition, provide the earliest possible diagnosis and help you tame this troubling condition.
The Mechanisms Behind Macular Degeneration
The macula is a specialized zone of the retina located at the back of the eye. This zone can interpret images in greater detail than other parts of the retina, and it uses this ability to help create the central vision you use whenever you want to focus your gaze on something or someone. Damage to the light-sensitive cells of the macula can cause straight lines to appear wavy, and it may even create empty spots in the center of your vision. This may render the most important part of your vision effectively useless, even if the condition doesn't lead to total blindness.
Macular degeneration usually becomes evident after age 60, although it can start when you're in your 50s. The disease proceeds according to two major stages:
- Non-neovascular macular degeneration - This early stage of macular degeneration, also called "dry" macular degeneration, causes yellowish deposits known as drusen to form on the macula. This condition may produce the earliest signs of vision loss.
- Neovascular macular degeneration - 10 percent of macular degeneration cases advance to this "wet" stage, in which weak, abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula form, then break and bleed into the eye. This stage causes more severe vision loss than dry macular degeneration.
Treatment Options and Recommendations from Our Optometrists for the Surrounding Communities of Lubbock, Wolfforth, and Woodrow, TX
Since macular degeneration doesn't necessarily show symptoms right away, regular eye exams are the only reliable way to catch the condition in its early stage -- and the earlier that diagnosis occurs, the more effectively our Lubbock optometrists can administer the appropriate treatment to help you preserve your eyesight. A detailed examination of the retina can reveal the presence of drusen or other telltale signs of macular degeneration. Vision testing using an Amseler Grid can determine whether the condition is affecting your ability to see straight lines accurately.
Approaches to macular degeneration treatment depend on which stage of the disease you're suffering from. Dry macular degeneration has no specific treatment regimen, although our optometry center can monitor the condition closely and recommend lifestyle changes to help you optimize your ocular health. We may also prescribe a nutritional protocol called AREDS2 that appears to lower the risk of intermediate macular degeneration advancing into a more advanced case.
Wet macular degeneration can often be successfully controlled with medication. Certain injectable drugs are able to inhibit the growth factor that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow and spread. If the condition is too far advanced for drug therapy, we may refer you for laser treatment that can destroy or seal leaky blood vessels.
Contact Our Lubbock Eye Doctors for a Thorough Vision Exam
Ginter Eyecare Center is dedicated to helping residents of Lubbock, Woodrow, Slide, and Wolfforth TX safeguard themselves against a variety of eye diseases. If you're worried about macular degeneration, contact our Lubbock eye doctors for an exam. Even if your eyes receive a clean bill of health, we can advise you on best practices such as UV protection, exercise and diet to support that health for many years to come. Call 806-798-8820 today!