Macular Degeneration

Serving Kingston, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and all of Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA)

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As you get older, you become at risk of developing a variety of age-related eye diseases. One of the more serious vision conditions impacting seniors is macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness among Americans over the age of 65. Approximately 1.75 million people across the country suffer from age-related macular degeneration, and that figure is expected to exceed 3 million by 2020.

Age-related macular degeneration occurs when the macula, the part of the retina that helps you achieve sharp, central vision, deteriorates. The retina is the light-sensing part of your eye located on the inside back wall of your eyeball. As the condition becomes worse, you will experience a gradual loss of vision.

We realize that some of the information regarding macular degeneration may be a bit technical, and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have in person. Please call us at 1-877-489-7405 today to schedule a macular degeneration consultation at one of our Northeastern Pennsylvania offices.

Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two types of macular degeneration:

  • Dry macular degeneration

  • Wet macular degeneration

Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of the disease. It occurs when yellow spots develop in and around the macula. As these spots increase in size and become more abundant, they may result in a dimming or distortion of vision that is most pr0minent when reading. Over a period of several years, the condition will gradually become more severe. In advanced stages, you may begin to experience blind spots in the center of your vision which impact your ability to drive or recognize faces.

Wet macular degeneration is the more serious form of the condition and occurs in about 10% of patients. It generally progresses from dry macular degeneration. In wet macular degeneration, blood vessels leak fluid and blood into the retina, creating blind spots and a loss of central vision. Eventually, these blood vessels may scar, causing permanent central vision loss.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

Since age-related macular degeneration results in a gradual loss of vision, you will generally not experience any symptoms until the condition has become more advanced. In order to ensure macular degeneration is detected early, you should go for regular eye examinations ever year or two after the age of 50.

Once they develop, symptoms of macular degeneration may include:

  • Fuzzy or distorted vision

  • Shadowy areas in your central vision

  • Difficulty adapting to low light levels

  • A need for very bright light when reading

  • Decrease in the intensity or brightness of colors

  • Blurriness of printed words

  • Difficulty recognizing faces

If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an eye examination with one of our ophthalmologists immediately.

Macular Degeneration Treatments

Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for macular degeneration. However, there are treatments which have proven effective at delaying the progression of the disorder. Early stages of dry macular degeneration can be treated using a combination of vitamin supplements including:

  • 500 mg vitamin C

  • 400 IU vitamin E

  • 15 mg beta carotene

  • 80 mg zinc oxide

  • 2 mg copper

Once the condition has progressed to wet macular degeneration, drugs can be used to stem the growth of abnormal blood vessels which lead to rapid vision deterioration. These include:

  • Lucentis

  • Macugen

  • Visudyne

Please contact Eye Care Specialists today to schedule your macular degeneration consultation or eye exam. We serve patients in Scranton, Wilkes Barre, Kingston, and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.