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Macular Degeneration FAQ

Macular Degeneration FAQs Answered by Our Lubbock Optometrists

Macular degeneration is a common eye disorder that we screen for and manage regularly here at The VisionCenter of West Texas. Our optometrists in Lubbock, TX have the answers to several frequently asked questions about the condition.

older woman being treated for macular degeneration

What is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a condition in which the macula, which is the central portion of the retina, begins to deteriorate. This frequently begins with the build-up of a pigment called drusen on the macula. It may also occur when the macula begins to thin, and some people experience both issues.

What types of AMD are there?

There are two types of AMD, usually referred to as wet and dry. The dry form is the more common form and the earlier phase of the disease. It causes more gradual vision loss. The wet form is the more severe form of the disease, involving the growth of new blood vessels that leak into the retina and kill cells.

What are the symptoms of AMD?

There are no symptoms of early-stage AMD. An optometrist can see signs of the disease during an exam, but you would not notice any vision changes. As the condition progresses, it causes dark or blurry spots in the central portion of your vision.

What causes AMD?

The causes of AMD are complex and not completely understood. Genetics plays a large part, and smoking is a risk factor. The main risk factor for AMD is aging, however. Inactivity, high blood pressure, and lighter eyes may also contribute to your risk of AMD. The most at-risk individuals are older Caucasian women.

Can AMD be prevented?

Maybe. Some of the major risk factors such as aging and heredity are not changeable, but you can certainly stop smoking and become more active. Certain oral supplements are being tested to determine whether they help prevent people from developing the condition. There is no way to completely prevent AMD, however.

How is AMD treated?

The dry form of AMD is typically treated with monitoring and sometimes, oral supplements. If it progresses to the wet form, optometry treatments such as drugs and lasers are used to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye.

Regular check-ups are essential for patients with macular degeneration, to check for changes in your vision. If you have dry AMD and it starts to progress to the wet form, prompt treatment is essential to prevent further vision loss.

Contact The VisionCenter of West Texas in Lubbock, TX

If you have macular degeneration or just haven't seen an optometrist in a long time, call us at The VisionCenter of West Texas, located in Lubbock TX. To make an appointment, call (806) 793-1927 today.