Macular degeneration is a serious, frightening disease, but early diagnosis and treatment can slow the disease’s progression and even prevent vision loss. At Egan Eye Associates in Frisco, Texas, therapeutic optometrist Katherine Egan, OD, diagnoses and treats macular degeneration and provides referrals to ophthalmologists as needed. To schedule an appointment, call the front office.
Macular degeneration, often referred to as age-related macular degeneration, is a disease that affects your retina. Your retina is the layer of light-sensing tissue at the back of your eye. The disease is a deterioration of your macula, located in the middle of the retinas.
Your macula is responsible for your central vision, which allows you to see the world in clear detail. Macular degeneration can cause you to lose all of your central vision, leaving you with only your peripheral (side) vision. Without your central vision, you can’t see faces clearly, and it’s difficult or impossible to do things like drive, read, watch television, or use a computer.
Age-related macular degeneration may not cause symptoms in its early stages, which is why it’s important to have regular eye exams at Egan Eye Associates, where Dr. Egan tests you for the disease. The first noticeable sign is usually distorted, wavy vision.
As macular degeneration progresses, you develop blind spots. When you look ahead, some areas are dark and blurry, like part of your field of vision is missing. If the disease is left untreated, these blind spots may eventually overtake your entire central vision.
The two forms of macular degeneration are dry and wet:
Approximately 80%-90% of people with macular degeneration have the dry form. It happens when white or yellowish deposits called drusen form under the retina, causing the macula to deteriorate. Though the dry form is less likely to cause permanent severe vision loss than the wet form, it can cause blurry vision and blind spots.
The dry form macular degeneration sometimes turns into the wet form, in which abnormal blood vessels develop under the retina and may leak and form scars. The wet form progresses much more quickly than the dry form and is far more likely to cause severe, irreversible vision loss.
Macular degeneration treatment depends on the form of the disease and how far it’s progressed. The disease usually affects both eyes, but may affect each eye at a different pace.
If you have dry macular degeneration, Dr. Egan helps you follow an eye-healthy diet, as well as a regimen of supplements. Doing so can slow the progression of the disease and lower your risk of developing the wet form. She also helps you adjust to changes in your vision using magnifiers, reading aids, and bright lighting.
Wet macular degeneration is an urgent condition, and Dr. Egan provides referrals to ophthalmologists as needed. An ophthalmologist can provide injectable medication, laser therapy, and other treatments that seal abnormal blood vessels or stop new ones from growing. This treatment can preserve, and in some cases, improve your vision.
To schedule an eye exam or get a diagnosis for vision changes, schedule an appointment at Egan Eye Associates online or over the phone.