AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
Macular degeneration (or AMD) is a potentially vision-stealing disease from which there are no known cures and very limited treatment options. If your condition is already quite progressed, there are tools and aids we can provide to help you live a near-normal life.
The best way to arm yourself against AMD, however, is through regularly scheduled eye exams so we can spot the disease as early as possible.
Experts In Preventative Eye Care
At Armstrong Optometry & Associates, we can help you manage the condition effectively, perhaps without any lasting impact on your eyesight. If you’re new to the Greenwood area – or simply haven’t registered with any single practice yet – then make an appointment asap so we can evaluate your eye health.
Technology, Testing and Diagnosis
Depending on the level of deterioration around the macula (the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision) we may make this diagnosis before any vision loss has occurred.
Ocular Coherence Tomography
Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a standard part of all eye exams at our practice, and produces a high resolution, 3D image of the retina. Even the earliest stages of AMD can be detected through this single test by assessing swelling of the retina or observing any distortion of the retinal layers.
One of our optometrists may inject a dye into your bloodstream. Since AMD presents with leaking blood vessels inside the eye, images will show whether any of the dye spills into the macula – if there is visible dye, this is a strong indicator of AMD.
Since AMD affects your central vision, we may use an Amsler grid to assess your visual acuity. If the results are suggestive of AMD (remember you could experience vision loss without actually noticing yourself) then, together with our other tests, we can confirm the diagnosis.
Further Information on Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The disease has two different types: wet and dry, affecting around 90% and 10% of AMD sufferers respectively.
This is by far the most common, and has itself 3 different levels: mild, moderate and severe. All present with flecks of a protein particle (known as drusen) which impair vision on the retina – severe AMD presents with more drusen (and thus reduced vision) compared to moderate and mild cases. You can also develop a blurred spot in the center of your vision as the macula slowly breaks down.
In addition to a high number of drusen obscuring vision (they appear as little spots overlaid on your eyesight), proliferative AMD also causes blood cells inside the eyeball to weaken and eventually rupture, spilling obstructive fluids around the macula.
This can lead to blindness which is irreversible. If it has been a while since your last exam, and you’re over 50 years old, you should arrange an appointment as soon as you can, just to be on the safe side.