Curbing Macular Degeneration

Image of old man at the computer.

Macular degeneration represents one of the most significant causes of vision loss in older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.8 million people currently suffer from macular degeneration, with an additional 7.3 million people at risk of developing this condition. Understanding the causes of and treatments for macular degeneration allow you to receive the optometry care needed to curb the incidence and progression of this disease.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Dry macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease in which the macula, a portion of the retina, deteriorates. When light enters the eye, it hits the retina, which lies on the back of the eyeball. Neural signaling from cells in the retina allows us to see clearly. If the macula degenerates, it cannot transmit visual signals to the brain, leading to blurred vision or a blind spot in the central portion of the visual field. A less common form of the disease, called wet macular degeneration, occurs when blood vessels behind the retina leak fluid, causing changes in central vision.

Curbing Macular Degeneration

Certain characteristics put individuals at a higher risk of developing macular degeneration. Being Caucasian, growing older, and having a family history of macular degeneration are strong risk factors outside of your control. Other risk factors, such as obesity, smoking, poor diet, cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol can be modified through lifestyle change.

To prevent macular degeneration, optometrists recommend incorporating healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet, reducing caloric intake to manage your weight, quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, and reducing your consumption of saturated and trans fats to lower your cholesterol. Your doctor can help you construct a healthy diet and lifestyle plan to reduce your risk.

Currently, dry macular degeneration is irreversible. However, it often progresses slowly and certain treatments may reduce the rate of progression. Annual visits to the optometrist to receive an eye exam are essential to monitoring the condition. Your eye doctor may recommend taking supplements, as high levels of vitamins A, C, and E as well as zinc and copper may reduce the progression of macular degeneration. Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids and lutein may also help, although more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of these treatments.

Treatment for wet macular degeneration may include injection of prescription medications, photodynamic therapy, or laser treatment to destroy abnormal blood vessels and prevent new vessel growth. In very advanced cases of macular degeneration, an optometrist may recommend surgery to implant a telescopic lens in one eye.

Sources:

American Health Assistance Foundation (2012). Macular degeneration research: About macular degeneration.
Mayo Clinic (2012): Macular degeneration.

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Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Press CARES about his patients, insurance or not AND he is the most thorough eye doctor I have ever been to. The prescription he gave me, made me see correctly, once again, I am so thankful. Dr Press and his staff are great!"
    Katrin H
  • "I'm so glad I changed eye doctors. I had been going to Dr. H by the hospital for a long time and he had given me a prescription for contacts that I tried and tried to wear with no success. Dr. Press gave the right "size" contacts and was able to walk out wearing the contacts with no problem! He has great manners and even took my blood pressure! Glad to have finally found a knowledgeable Optometrist I can SEE in a regular basis."
    Ines P
  • "I recently needed to change my vision prescription and was finally in need of bifocals. I went to see Dr. Miles Press for both convenience (local eye doctor) and because he accepted my insurance. I needed to have vision in my right eye adjusted several times, and several right lenses replaced. Dr.Miles Press worked tirelessly to make sure my vision was correct and I was never charged for each subsequent visit or lens replacement. I've never had an eye doctor like that before, that really cares and is fast and on the ball with knowledge to get you the correct prescription. He also cared that I went with Progressive lenses over bifocals because they provide three fields of view and eliminate the annoying line. To sum it up, an eye doctor that treats you like he would his own family is a rare experience. I will continue to go to Dr. Miles Press as long as he is in business and accepts my insurance. No question."
    Thomas C
  • "I didn't know my vision could change, and I also didn't know that I could see the world more clearly than how I was already seeing it! Dr. Press was professional and very helpful and educating! Highly recommend!"
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  • "Dr. Miles Press was very professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. He explained a lot about my eye care that no Dr. has ever taken the time to do."
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