Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive eye disease that leads to vision loss in the center of the field of vision.
After diagnosis, there are steps you can take to slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Serving the Nashville, TN, area, Dr. Walter Choate uses advanced techniques to diagnose macular degeneration so you can slow its progress.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration, commonly referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is an eye disease that develops over time. The macula is located in the center of the retina and is responsible for detecting light and sending those signals to the brain. Macular degeneration involves the thinning of the macula, leading to vision loss.
The symptoms of macular degeneration include:
- Vision loss or a blind spot within the central vision
- Blurred or hazy center field of vision
- Difficulty adjusting to low light levels
- Colors appear faded or washed out
The Two Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Dry Macular Degeneration
If you have dry AMD, small yellow deposits called drusen have formed within the thinning macula. This impedes the function of the macula and causes it to dry out, resulting in distorted and dimmed vision with a blind spot in the center field of view. When left untreated, it can eventually lead to central vision loss or the development of wet AMD, the more serious form of AMD.
The disease may affect both eyes or only one eye. Dry macular degeneration is the more common of the two types of macular degeneration.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet AMD involves the leaking of blood and fluid from the growth of abnormal blood vessels. These blood vessels grow under the macula and leak into the retina, which causes visual disturbances. Visual problems caused by wet macular degeneration include straight lines appearing bent, as well as blind spots, specifically within the central field of vision.
Over time, wet macular degeneration can lead to the permanent loss of central vision. Fortunately, wet macular degeneration is highly treatable.
Dry AMD symptoms develop gradually and painlessly, making it more difficult to detect than wet AMD, which can occur suddenly.
There are several risk factors associated with the development of age-related macular degeneration. These include:
- Family history
- Cardiovascular disease
- Poor diet
Though some of these risk factors can be reduced by living a healthy lifestyle, further treatment may still be necessary. Our practice can help patients in the Nashville, TN, area slow this disease.
Diagnosing Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration can lead to permanent damage in eyesight, so obtaining the proper diagnosis is important. After completing an eye exam, Choate Eye Associates, serving Nashville, Goodlettsville, and Hendersonville, TN, can perform Macula Risk™ genetic testing. This test determines which patients carry the gene for the more severe types of age-related macular degeneration, with 100% accuracy.
Though age-related macular degeneration is incurable, early detection can slow down the rate of vision loss. Our in-office test allows Dr. Choate to analyze how your vision may deteriorate over time and create a treatment plan to effectively control the progression of the disease.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
Schedule Regular Checkups
Early detection can help slow the progression of this eye disease. Once diagnosed with macular degeneration, patients should see their doctor every three months to a year to keep abreast of the condition’s progress.
Make Lifestyle Changes
A healthy diet, nutraceuticals, supplements, anti-VEGF medication, exercise, and wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful light can all help slow the progression of AMD.
"Very professional and welcoming"
The staff was friendly and very knowledgeable about everything I had questions about. Dr. Choate showed true care about my eye health and I could tell he wanted to give me the best quality products to assist with my vision. Very professional and welcoming environment. I will be coming back for my next routine exam.View on Google
The two ladies that performed the initial part of my exam were very thorough & friendly. Dr. Choate was also very thorough & it was clear that he is truly interested in the services they provide as well as providing information on how we can maintain healthy vision.View on Google