About 6% of Americans older than 40 have some degree of macular degeneration, a disease that gradually progresses to cause vision loss. Dr. Wilson recommends getting routine eye exams that can identify macular degeneration at an early stage, before you have symptoms, so you have time to get treatment to prevent or delay eye damage. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call the office in Remus, Michigan.
Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), develops in a specific part of your retina called the macula. The macular contains millions of light-sensing cells that are essential for central vision.
Macular degeneration occurs as light-sensing cells deteriorate from several possible causes, depending on the type of AMD. As the cells break down, you lose vision.
Your risk increases as you age -- most cases occur over the age of 50 -- and if you have:
There are two forms of AMD:
About 80% of patients with macular degeneration have dry AMD. It develops from age-related changes and the development of drusen. Drusen are clumps of lipids that interfere with the macula’s ability to receive nutrients.
In this form of macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels develop behind your retina. These vessels are fragile, so they leak blood and fluids, leading to swelling that damages cells in the macula. Wet macular degeneration can cause a detached retina.
Macular degeneration usually doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stage. As it worsens and more cells are damaged, you may experience:
Dr. Wilson uses the latest technology to diagnose and track macular degeneration, a noninvasive imaging system called optical coherence tomography. OCT uses light waves to take a cross-section image of your retina.
With this image, Dr. Wilson can see specific changes in your retina, evaluate structures, and detect new fluid buildup. As OCT allows him to evaluate membranes, he can determine disease progression and determine whether tissues have responded to medications.
No treatments are currently available for dry AMD, but Dr. Wilson may recommend therapeutic supplements that can prevent or delay disease progression. After you develop wet AMD, treatment options include photodynamic therapy, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medications, and laser surgery.
Routine eye examinations detect macular degeneration before you develop symptoms, giving you time to take supplements or medications to slow progressive damage. To schedule an exam, call Dr. Wilson or book an appointment online.