29 Buckland Street
Manchester, CT 06042
(860) 646-6655
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Macular Degeneration

With Age Related Macular Degeneration or AMD, the macula (the part of the retina that controls central, detailed vision) breaks down or degenerates. In the early stages of the disease, the effect on vision may be minimal or unnoticeable. As the disease progresses, fine detail becomes more difficult to see, especially when reading small print. Vision may also appear distorted or parts of an object may appear to be missing. There is no pain associated with macular degeneration. Dr. Sturgis and Dr. Motto at New England Eyecare can diagnose macular degeneration in its earliest stages using today's most advanced diagnostic exams.

Dry AMD vs. wet AMD.
The dry form of AMD is the earlier, most common and less serious form. Degenerative changes occur in the tissues of the macula and there is no bleeding or fluid leaking from blood vessels. Vision loss from dry AMD can’t be restored, but vision and tissue damage needs to be closely monitored because the dry form can turn into the wet form.

The wet form of AMD occurs later in the disease, is less common but is more serious. It occurs when the tissues become damaged enough to allow tiny, weak blood vessels to grow into the macula. These new blood vessels leak fluid or bleed, causing the macula to bulge or swell leading to tissue damage and often rapid loss of vision. It is extremely important to detect the progression to the wet form of the disease in the very early stages when treatment can slow, stop, or reverse the tissue damage and vision loss.

What causes macular degeneration?
No one is completely sure what causes macular degeneration. Heredity, the environment, age and general health may all be factors. Recent studies indicate that exposure to ultraviolet radiation, obesity as well as deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals may affect macular degeneration. Smoking has been linked to the more severe, or wet, form of macular degeneration.
  Managing macular degeneration
At this time, there is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are treatments that can help slow the progression of the disease. Protection from ultraviolet light exposure is important at all stages of the disease. A diet high in antioxidants is recommended. Specific vitamin and mineral supplements have been shown to slow down the progression of the disease. Your doctor will discuss these with you and make recommendations based on your individual needs.

If you progress to the wet stage of the disease, your doctor will refer you to a board-certified retinal specialist who offers state-of-the-art treatment methods to slow the progression or reverse some of the vision loss that has occurred. These may include laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, and injectable medications.

For those experiencing some vision loss from macular degeneration, special glasses as well as special tints and lens coatings can increase contrast and improve clarity of vision. Increasing the amount of light used when reading can also greatly improve vision. With advanced vision loss, your doctor can arrange for a consultation with a low vision specialist to provide special magnifiers and aids to help with specific vision and daily living tasks.

For more information on macular degeneration or to schedule an appointment, call New England Eyecare today.

 
 
 
New England Eyecare - Manchester 29 Buckland Street Manchester, CT 06042 Phone: (860) 646-6655 Fax: (860) 647-7872

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