Dry macular degeneration is a very serious condition of the eye. This condition occurs when the macula thins, resulting in blurry or reduced central vision. Over time the condition can cause vision loss in both eyes. There is no cure for macular degeneration; however, our team at VisionSmith in Plymouth can create a treatment plan to slow the progression of the disease, which will preserve your vision longer.
Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration
Although anyone can develop macular degeneration, some risk factors can increase your chances.
- Being over 60 years old
- Family history of macular degeneration
- Being Caucasian
- Any disease that affects your heart or blood vessels
- Being a smoker
The Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
The symptoms of macular degeneration can develop gradually over time, and they do not cause pain. These symptoms include the following:
- Seeing straight lines as bent
- Needing brighter lights when doing closeup work
- Trouble adapting to low-lit rooms
- Seeing printed words as blurry
- Decreased brightness of colors
- Reduced central vision in one or both eyes
- Trouble recognizing faces
- Blurry or blind spots in your field of vision
- Permanent vision loss
The Complications of Macular Degeneration
Unfortunately, macular degeneration can cause some complications. These include:
- Depression and social isolation due to the central vision loss
- Charles Bonnet syndrome, which causes people to see visual hallucinations
- Dry macular degeneration can progress to wet macular degeneration, which can cause rapid vision loss if it is not treated
Diagnosing Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration can be diagnosed during your annual eye exam. Our optometrist will put drops in your eyes to dilate them to get a good look at the back of your eyes. If we discover yellow deposits called drusen, we may need additional tests to determine the presence of macular degeneration. Some of the tests include:
- Amsler grid test: This graph can test for visual impairment. If you see the straight lines as bent or broke, macular degeneration is possible.
- Fluorescein angiography: This test is designed to check for retinal changes and abnormal blood vessels.
- Indocyanine green angiography: This test can identify specific types of macular degeneration.
Treating Macular Degeneration
As mentioned earlier, there is no cure for macular degeneration. Our optometrist will suggest you quit smoking, remain at a healthy weight, and eat a healthy diet. We can also prescribe vitamin supplements to preserve your vision. When permanent vision loss occurs, our eye doctor can prescribe low-vision aids to help you see better.
Contact Us for Macular Degeneration Testing in Plymouth, MN
Because macular degeneration is so serious, it is essential that you schedule an eye exam every year at VisionSmith. We can detect macular degeneration early, which can preserve your vision. Call us today at (763) 559-5522 to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor.