Macular degeneration is a leading cause of impaired reading and detailed vision. It is caused by the breakdown of the macula, the central portion of the retina. Although macular degeneration causes distortion of central and color vision, side vision is not affected.
Macular degeneration is most commonly a natural result of the aging process. With time, the retinal tissues break down. This deterioration causes a loss of function of the macula. In about 10% of cases, aging of the retina is compounded by the growth and leakage of tiny vessels in the macula which can lead to retinal scarring and profound vision loss. This more severe form of the disease is termed “wet” macular degeneration. Deterioration of the macula without the growth of new blood vessels represents “dry” macular degeneration and is often less severe.
The most notable symptom of macular degeneration is blurry or distorted central vision. Difficulty in reading or driving may also be noticed. Diagnosis is made with careful examination through the dilated pupil. In addition, sophisticated tests such as the OCT and digital fluorescein angiography may be used.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for macular degeneration. However, certain vitamins, laser treatments and medications have had promising results in slowing the progression of this disease. The most important thing is early detection, so yearly eye examinations are strongly recommended. Ask to see Dr. Dimple Modi, our Medical Retina Specialist.
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