Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration Explained from Our Mt. Pleasant Optometrist

If you can imagine what it would be like to look directly at someone or something and see a blank spot instead, you have some idea of how macular degeneration can impact your life. This progressive, irreversible condition slowly destroys the central visual field of the eye, making it difficult to see the faces of loved ones or enjoy other images so often taken for granted. Fortunately, early detection and prompt macular degeneration treatment can help you gain control over the condition and preserve your eyesight -- and our Mt. Pleasant optometrist, Dr. H. Arnold Papernick, can provide that essential care.

eye examination with an Amsler grid

Macular degeneration is often referred to as AMD for age-related macular degeneration because it usually becomes evident during or after middle age. The two principal categories of the condition are known as "wet" and "dry." Dry macular degeneration occurs when yellowish deposits called drusen interfere with normal function of the macula, a small area of the retina responsible for central vision. Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal, thin-walled blood vessels underneath the macula begin to leak blood and leave scar tissue. You might see straight lines take on a wavy look, accompanied by blank spots in your central visual field. The eventual vision loss can be severe, even though sufferers generally retain their peripheral vision.

As frightening as the condition sounds, there are steps you can take to keep it at bay. The most important of these is scheduling regular eye exams with our Mt. Pleasant optometrist. Thorough retinal examination and eye testing can help us catch macular degeneration in its earliest stages. This means we can intervene to slow the progress of the disease before too much damage has been done. We recommend annual eye exams to optimize your odds of catching AMD early. These exams typically include tests such as the Amsler grid (for detecting "wavyness"), retinal examination under pupil dilation.

Macular degeneration treatments may include medication, nutritional supplementation home-based preventative practices. Wet macular degeneration often responds to injectable drugs such as Lucentis, Visudyne, Macugen or Eylea. If our eye doctor thinks you are a good candidate for this form of care, he will refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment. We may also recommend a course of nutrients that support retinal health such as lutein, zeaxanthin, antioxidant vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. We prescribe supplements which are developed by actual eye doctors for these situations. We will also advise you on lifestyle changes to help you avoid known risk factors for macular degeneration such as obesity and smoking. 

Schedule an Exam with Our Mt. Pleasant Eye Doctor

The sooner you trust your ocular health to our Mt. Pleasant eye doctor, the better chance you have of warding off or controlling macular degeneration. Call  H. Arnold Papernick OD at (724) 547-5711 to schedule an exam!