With age, it is common to experience some degree of vision deterioration. Because there are many different types of eye conditions with similar symptoms, treating your specific issue begins with proper diagnosis. Macular degeneration is just one of many conditions which may be affecting your eyesight. Dr. Walter Choate uses state-of-the-art Macula Risk™ genetic testing in the diagnosis and management of macular degeneration at hisNashville practice, ensuring absolute accuracy and the earliest possible detection – and therefore treatment – of the condition.
Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye which, over time, causes loss of sight in the central field of vision. The fovea and macula are located in the center of the retina and are responsible for processing light from objects within the direct line of sight.
There are two types of macular degeneration: dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration is the more common of the two.
With dry macular degeneration, visual problems stem from a wearing down and thinning of the tissue of the macula, something quite common to the aging process. Dry macular degeneration can create a blind spot in the center field of view, making everyday tasks such as driving, reading, writing, and even recognizing faces difficult. The disease may affect both eyes or only one eye. With dry macular degeneration, drusen, which are small yellow deposits, form within the macula. Drusen may lead to distorted and dimmed vision. In some cases, dry macular degeneration can lead to the other form of macular degeneration, referred to as wet macular degeneration.
Wet macular degeneration is the second type of this disease. Wet macular degeneration involves the leaking of blood and fluid from the growth of abnormal blood vessels. These blood vessels grow under the macula and leak fluids into the retina which causes visual disturbances. Visual problems caused by wet macular degeneration include blind spots, specifically within the central field of vision, and the appearance of wavy lines. Over time, wet macular degeneration can lead to permanent loss of central vision. Fortunately, wet macular degeneration is highly treatable.
The symptoms of macular degeneration include:
There are many risk factors associated with the development of macular degeneration. Most risks factors can be reduced by living a healthy lifestyle. The following are just a few risk factors for macular degeneration:
Macular degeneration can lead to permanent damage in eyesight. Treatment begins with proper diagnosis, which is why Dr. Choate offers MaculaRisk™ genetic testing at his practice. Macula Risk™ is a 100-percent accurate test that determines which patients carry the gene for wet macular degeneration. This in-office test allows Dr. Choate to analyze how vision will deteriorate over time and create a treatment plan that will effectively help to control the disease process. Once diagnosed with macular degeneration, patients should see their doctors every three months to a year to keep abreast of the condition’s progress. Lifestyle changes, including diet, nutraceuticals, and wearing sunglasses to protect the eyes from harmful blue and violet light, should be implemented to help reduce progression of disease.
For more information regarding macular degeneration or other eye conditions such as cataracts, we welcome you to contact Dr. Choate at our office today!