Macular Degeneration in Champaign, IL
Macular degeneration is perhaps one of the most common eye diseases worldwide, and the condition can be highly related to vision loss. While the condition is common, eye disease treatment in Champaign can help ensure you retain your vision for as long as possible. At Champaign Eye Professionals, we work with patients to make sure they get a proper diagnosis of macular degeneration early and get the treatment necessary to retain their visual abilities for as long as possible.
A Closer Look at Macular Degeneration
Often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), macular degeneration affects the central point of the retina, the macula, which is responsible for keeping vision sharp. The macula is directly responsible for central vision, so an individual with AMD will see their central vision gradually grow more blurry, even if peripheral vision is unaffected. There are two types of macular degeneration, wet and dry.
AMD Wet (Exudative AMD)
Only about 10 to 20 percent of AMD cases are exudative. This condition is characterized by blood vessels that leak fluid into the retina and sometimes the back of the eye. Wet AMD is much more likely to be a threat to your vision. Usually, vision loss occurs in the later stages or most advanced stages of the eye disease. However, wet AMD can also bring about sudden vision loss.
AMD Dry (Non-Exudative AMD)
Dry AMD is the most common type of macular degeneration with up to 80 to 90 percent of patients having this form. A collection of proteins in or around the macula, referred to as drusen, affects the surrounding retinal cells, which can mean a loss of function for those cells. Most people with AMD dry will see progressive vision loss that takes place slowly over the course of several years.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
AMD, as noted by the name, is often age-related. According to research, the condition is the top cause of vision loss for people as they get older. About one in three men and one of four females over 75 develop some level of AMD. Beyond age, however, a few other factors may contribute to the development of AMD beyond just aging, such as:
- Being overweight or living a sedentary lifestyle
- Having a family history of AMD
- Living with cardiovascular disease
- Being a smoker or living with a smoker
Over-exposure to UV rays is often thought to be associated with macular degeneration, but so far, the research has not found a direct link between time in the sun and macular degeneration.
How Macular Degeneration Is Treated by a Champaign Optometrist
Unfortunately, macular degeneration is not a curable condition. However, your Champaign eye doctor can closely monitor the condition and offer guidance to help slow or stop the progression of the condition. Patients with wet AMD may sometimes benefit from medicinal injections that dry up the leaking fluid in the eye, which can help visual quality temporarily. Other steps that may be taken include:
- Low vision rehabilitation to help you adapt to changes in your vision
- Telescopic lens implantation to magnify central vision
- Supplements to help slow the progression of the condition
If you are diagnosed early, the eye doctor will build a comprehensive plan of action to both monitor and hopefully control the progression.
Common Patient Questions About AMD
What are the symptoms of AMD?
Symptoms of AMD can develop quite gradually, which often means the patient does not immediately catch that something is wrong. However, you may notice:
- Reduced ability to see things straight in front of you
- Visual distortion, such as something straight appearing wavy
- Blurry areas in your central field of vision
- Changes in the brightness of certain colors
- Low-light vision issues
- Difficulty reading or watching TV
Keep in mind, AMD can affect only one eye, which can make symptoms or changes even harder to spot. In many cases, an eye unaffected by AMD will compensate for the AMD-affected eye. Because symptoms are hard to catch early, eye exams in Champaign are extremely important, especially if you feel you are at risk.
At what age do most people get diagnosed with AMD?
AMD is often not diagnosed until patients are over 60 years old. However, a Champaign eye doctor can spot the early signs of the condition often years sooner. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more effective treatment can be. For example, if an eye doctor catches the formation of drusen early, they may recommend vitamins and even lifestyle changes that can drastically slow the progression of AMD in some cases.
Can AMD be reversed?
Unfortunately, the damage caused by AMD cannot be reversed with current medicine. This is why early treatment is so important; interventional therapy may slow or even stop the progression of the eye disease.
Work with a Champaign Eye Doctor for AMD Management
While there is no cure for macular degeneration, careful monitoring with the help of a Champaign optometrist can help slow the progression of the condition. Plus, regular checkups help your eye doctor to adjust treatment as needed for the best possible outcome. If you believe you have AMD or have already been diagnosed, reach out to us at Champaign Eye Professionals to schedule an appointment.