Dr. Stolte of Stolte Eye Center located in Spring Hill Florida is an ophthalmologist specializing in Macular Degeneration treatment. Please contact our office to schedule your evaluation.
Macular Degeneration, also known as AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration), is the leading cause of vision loss in patients 65 years old and older, and it affects 1 in every 5 Americans between the ages of 55 and 75. 1.4 million people have advanced AMD in the US alone.
Macular Degeneration is a condition affecting the central part of the retina called macula, which is the part of the retina that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The macula is responsible for central vision needed to do everyday activities like reading, driving and recognizing faces and colors in fine detail.
The macula is the most sensitive central area of the retina. In the healthy eye, the macula collects detailed images at the center of the field of vision and sends them up the optic nerve to the brain called visual cortex, which interprets them as sight. In the macula affected by Macular Degeneration, the images are not received correctly. The blurred vision does not affect peripheral vision and is central, so it does not lead to complete blindness. There is no cure for this condition at this time.
Research suggests that Macular Degeneration is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of those risk factors are:
Most cases of Macular Degeneration occur in Caucasians and females in particular. Symptoms develop slowly and without any pain. The main symptoms are partial loss of vision, difficulties to see in dim light, seeing spots, blurred vision and straight lines appearing wavy. A dark or blind spot in the central visual field may also be present.
There are two different types of Macular Degeneration, wet and dry.
About 90% of all patients suffering from Macular Degeneration have a Dry form which leads to less vision loss than the wet form of the disease. Wet Macular Degeneration leads to more serious vision loss and accounts for the other 10 percent of the patients.
Dry Macular Degeneration
Dry Macular Degeneration is a slow and gradual process. As you age, the cells in the macula start to thin and break down, and waste deposits of fat and protein called drusen. This “waste” doesn’t get absorbed by your body and starts to collect under your retina which is a part of your eye that processes light. This deposits eventually damages the nerve cells in the macula causing vision loss.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet Macular Degeneration is a more damaging form of the disease and can occur rapidly. In the Wet form, new blood vessels start to grow beneath the retina. Because these new vessels develop relatively quickly, they tend to break easily and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing permanent damage to retinal cells in the macula, killing them off creating blind spots in central vision.
Macular Degeneration is diagnosed by Dr. Stolte during a regular eye exam. The doctor will follow up on the general exam with a series of tests to gather the data needed to determine the correct diagnosis.
Currently, there is no cure for Macular Degeneration, but some treatments may slow its progression or even improve vision. In the Dry form of the disease research is showing that nutritional intervention may help prevent the progression to the wet form.
Research suggests that these have been shown to slow down the development of Macular Degeneration. Wet Macular Degeneration treatments aim at stopping the growth of any abnormal blood vessel. These treatments include laser, photodynamic therapy, and drug therapy (Avastin, EYLEA, Lucentis).
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