Light rays enter the eye through the cornea, pupil and lens. These light rays are focused on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The retina sends signals through the optic nerve to the brain where these signals become the images we see.
The retina has two areas: the peripheral retina which gives us our side or wide-angle vision and the macula the small area at the center of the retina. The macula gives us our pinpoint vision allowing us to see clearly.
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over the age of 60. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. The retina is the light- sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. Because the disease develops as a person ages, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration. Although macular degeneration is almost never a totally blinding condition, it can be a source of significant visual disability.
There are two main types of age-related macular degeneration.
Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration
The dry form occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula gradually break down, resulting in distortion of sharp, central vision.
When this form becomes advanced, it can result in the wet form of the disease. Blood vessels in the eye begin to leak blood and fluid. Loss of vision can happen very quickly.
Symptoms can include wavy or distorted vision, “blind spots” in vision… dark, blurry areas in the center of vision and diminished or changed color perception. Any of these changes warrant a prompt visit to your physician.
When AMD is diagnosed and treated in its early and intermediate stages, vision loss can often be slowed and the risk of its progression to the wet form reduced. While there are numerous medications and treatments available, treatment has to be aimed at the patient’s specific manifestation of the disease. Seven different forms of the disease exist and no one treatment is effective for every patient.
Years ago, AMD often resulted in legal blindness. However, new treatments have produced much better outcomes. Healthy choices can also help the prevention of developing this disease.
Addressing serious problems with compassionate care, Community Eye Center Retina strives to apply our state-of-the-art medical and surgical skills with a thoughtful, human touch.