Former Mayor of Pineville George Fowler - Macular Degeneration Patient
Over 10 million Americans suffer from Macular Degeneration and it’s the leading cause of vision loss. There is no permanent cure, but it is treatable. At Mecklenburg Eye Associates, we can diagnose and treat this condition as well as provide you with strategies for adapting.
Macular Degeneration is an eye disease affecting the macula – a tiny area within the retina at the back of your eye.
When functioning normally, the macula enables you to see fine details clearly, which allows you to do such things as read, drive, and enjoy crafts such as needlepoint and sewing. When not functioning properly, your vision may be blurry, straight lines may appear distorted, and/or you may see dark patches or distorted areas in the center of your vision. It affects both near and far vision.
Many people develop Macular Degeneration in the course of natural aging (often referred to as Age-Related Macular Degeneration or AMD), typically beginning at the age of 50. Other factors which could lead to Macular Degeneration include family history, cigarette smoking, obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol levels.
There are two major types:
Dry Macular Degeneration is the most common form, found in 90% of those with AMD. No blood or fluid leaks, rather the macula is damaged by drusen—yellow deposits that form underneath as a result by what’s called oxidative stress, the natural breakdown of the macula as oxygen affects our bodies over time.
Wet Macular Degeneration is less common, but more severe. It occurs when new blood vessels form beneath the macula (the central part of the retina). These blood vessels can leak blood and other fluid, affecting central vision. Vision loss can be rapid.
As part of your normal eye exam, the doctors at Mecklenburg Eye Associates may administer one or more tests to determine Macular Degeneration. This could involve dilating your pupils, taking special optical photographs, a graph test (Amsler grid), and other specialized procedures.
Treatment is varied, depending on type and severity. This can range from nutritional supplements (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper, Zinc, Beta-Carotene), laser surgery, and regularly scheduled injections to prevent MD-related leakage.
In addition, Mecklenburg Eye Associates will recommend many adaptive strategies to enable you to more easily compensate the effects of Macular Degeneration. As always, feel free to discuss your eye health with your doctor so you fully understand your condition and all your options.