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Prevention of Age-related Macular Degeneration

Prevention of Age-related Macular Degeneration (Macular Degeneration)

Some of the risk factors of Macular Degeneration are modifiable and therefore may prevent Macular Degeneration: people can stop smoking cigarettes, improve their diet and rebuild their macular pigment by taking an appropriate macular supplement. Only a comprehensive Macular Degeneration assessment can determine if you are at risk. learn more Prevention Assessment.

If you have any symptoms or risk factor of Macular Degeneration please call Dr. Benjamin Azman
IMMEDIATELY for a complimentary phone consultation at 410-561-8050

Early Detection of Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is a treatable disease. Early and frequent monitoring of patients with Macular Degeneration can detect the disease even before symptoms appear, allowing for early treatment that will save vision. Learn more Early Detection Assessment

What is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related Macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in people over 50 years of age, affecting over 10 million people in the United States. This eye disease is particularly frustrating because it results in a loss of central vision and you are therefore unable to read, watch TV, and recognize faces or drive. Unfortunately, by the time some people are diagnosed, the disease may have been developing for over 20 years. Prevention and/or early detection are your best way to preserve your precious eyesight.

Macular Degeneration almost always develops in both eyes, although one eye may be much more severely affected than the other. The rate at which the disease develops usually depends on which of the two types of Macular Degeneration you have the more common dry Macular Degeneration or the more severe wet Macular Degeneration.

Dry Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration begins in its dry form, from which most people with Macular Degeneration suffer. Dry Macular Degeneration progresses slowly and does not generally result in severe loss of vision. Many patients notice nothing and will just add more light for reading. Dry Macular Degeneration usually starts in one eye and occurs later in the second eye.

Because progression is painless and gradual, many people consider the slight damage of central vision to be a normal part of aging. But there is nothing normal about dry Macular Degeneration-particularly if it progresses to the more severe wet Macular Degeneration.

Wet Macular Degeneration

15-20 percent of people with intermediate-stage dry Macular Degeneration progress to the wet form of the disease. At this stage, tiny blood vessels beneath the retina grow out of control, which can cause blood and fluid to leak under the retina. The resulting damage can be devastation, leading to rapid, severe and permanent central vision loss-that is, unless it is detected early and treated immediately. Learn more early detection of Macular Degeneration.

What Are The Risk Factors For Macular Degeneration?

Macular Pigment- Studies indicate if three 3 pigments are low in the Macular area you are at high risks for Macular Degeneration
Age - greatest risk factor for Macular Degeneration. People over 50 are at greater risk
Genes - family history with Macular Degeneration, especially immediate relatives
Gender - women have a greater risk of developing Macular Degeneration than men do
Race - Caucasians are more likely than Blacks to lose vision from Macular Degeneration.
Eye Color - Macular Degeneration is more common in people with light colored eyes
Sunlight - greater exposure to UV light increases risk of Macular Degeneration
Smoking - reduces the protective antioxidant in the eye, therefore, increases the risk of Macular Degeneration
Heart Disease - high blood pressure raises the risk of Macular Degeneration
High Cholesterol - increases the risk of Macular Degeneration
Obesity - research has found a link between obesity and the progression of Macular Degeneration
Diet/Nutrition - have a huge impact on your risk for Macular Degeneration

Early Prevention and Early Detection Assessment for Macular Degeneration

Risk Assessment - your risk for Macular Degeneration can be evaluated with your risk factors.

Visual Field Test - central vision is evaluated with the use the PHP. PHP visual field detects early changes in the central area of your vision.

Macular Pigment Evaluation - The Macuscope will measure the three macular pigments that is unique to the macular area. This test is for prevention and early detection.

Dilated Retinal Evaluation - Eyes are dilated to get a more thorough view of the macular area.

Visual Acuity/Function - to read an eye chart to assess your eyesight.

Color vision - Anomaloscope is used to asses your color perception.

What can I do to protect My Eyes?

  • Wear sunglasses
  • Eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables and other foods that contain vision protecting vitamins and minerals
  • Talk to you eye care professional about having an Macular Degeneration comprehensive assessment if you have any of the Macular Degeneration risk factors
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Do not smoke
  • Maintain ideal weight
  • Exercise regularly

Low Vision Devices

For those who have vision loss from macular degeneration, many low vision devices are available to help with mobility and specific visual tasks.

Nutrition for Macular Degeneration

Many researchers and eye care practitioners believe that certain nutrients zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamins A, C and E help lower the risk for Macular Degeneration or slow down the progression of dry macular degeneration. Benefits of high levels of antioxidants and zinc for halting or slowing development of macular degeneration have been widely reported based on results released in 2001 from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) conducted by the National Eye Institute.

For those who have vision loss from macular degeneration, many low vision devices are available to help with mobility and specific visual tasks.

How Macular Degeneration Is Treated?

There is as yet no outright cure for age-related macular degeneration, but some treatments may delay its progression or even improve vision.

Treatments for macular degeneration depends on whether the disease is in its early-stage, dry form or in the more advanced, wet form that can lead to serious vision loss. No FDA-approved treatments exist yet for dry macular degeneration, although nutritional intervention may help prevent its progression to the wet form.

  • Anti-angiogenic drugs - (brand names Lucentis and Macugen) work by blocking a protein in the eye that promotes the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
  • Photodynamic therapy - a drug (Visudyne) is injected in your arm, travels through your body, and collects in the new blood vessels in your retina. A light is then used to activate the drug in your eye. The activated drug destroys the new blood vessels and slows the progression of vision loss.
  • Laser photo-coagulation - laser is used to seal the abnormal and leak blood vessels, discouraging their growth. The treatment leaves a blind spot and may have to be repeated over time.