Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of visual impairment in older adults. Loss of vision occurs in the center of the visual field because of damage to the retina. Macular degeneration can make it difficult to recognize faces or read although enough peripheral vision remains to allow most activities of daily life to be performed. It can cause “legal blindness” although by itself it doesn’t cause “no light perception.”
With “dry” form macular degeneration, vision is lost through destruction of photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the central part of the eye. While no medical or surgical treatment is available for this condition, vitamin supplements with high doses of antioxidants have been used to slow the progression of dry macular degeneration and, in some patients, improve visual acuity.
The “wet” form of advanced AMD causes vision loss due to abnormal blood vessel growth, ultimately leading to blood and protein leakage deep in the macula. Bleeding, leakage and scarring from these blood vessels eventually causes irreversible damage and rapid vision loss if left untreated.
Wet AMD can be treated by using laser surgery or photodynamic therapy to destroy the abnormal blood vessels.
If you are experiencing any changes in your central vision, contact our Florence office at 843.664.9393, or Sumter office at 803.795.1772 to schedule a macular degeneration exam with our doctors. Early diagnosis may lead to effective treatment and preservation of your vision.