Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration Diagnosis & Treatment: How to Protect Your Vision

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss for Americans aged 60 or older. Macular degeneration is a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision, making it difficult to perform basic daily tasks like reading and driving. Vision lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored. Without effective treatment, macular degeneration can lead to permanent blindness.

The good news is that treatment can slow progressive vision loss. Regular, comprehensive exams will make it easier for our doctor to diagnose macular degeneration as early as possible so we can take proactive steps to protect your existing vision. Our experienced eye care team in Elko, NV will evaluate your symptoms and help you navigate your different care options.

Macular Degeneration: Types, Symptoms and Diagnosis

older woman in glasses There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration occurs when the center of the retina (the macula) deteriorates. Wet macular degeneration occurs when blood vessels that grow under the retina begin to leak blood and fluid. Both conditions cause irreversible vision loss. Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of this condition.

Often there are no symptoms in the earliest stages of macular degeneration. The first noticeable symptom of age-related macular degeneration is usually a distorted perception of straight lines that slowly progresses to complete central vision loss. In addition to straight lines appearing distorted, you may notice dark, blurry areas or areas of white in the center of your vision. You may struggle to perform daily tasks like reading, driving and recognizing facial expressions. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an immediate appointment with our optometrist. Immediate intervention is necessary to preserve your existing vision.

In general, everyone should receive a comprehensive eye exam every year. Individuals who are aged 60 and older are considered to be at the greatest risk for macular degeneration and should be examined at least annually. Our eye doctor in Elko will examine the back of your retina and conduct several diagnostic exams as needed, including optical coherence tomography (OCT), to diagnosis macular degeneration.

Treatment for Macular Degeneration: Supplements and Dietary Modification

While there is no cure for macular degeneration, treatment can help protect and preserve your existing vision. Our eye care team will discuss your different treatment options and work with you to determine the best solution for your current health needs.

Studies show that some patients may benefit from taking a high-dose formula of antioxidant vitamins to slow the progression of this disease. If you have advanced stage macular degeneration in one eye, this combination of high dose vitamins may help reduce the likelihood that you develop the condition in your other eye. Dietary changes may also help. The Mayo Clinic recommends a diet primarily comprised of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, healthy unsaturated fats (like those found in olive oil), whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids.

For more information on macular degeneration, schedule an eye care exam with our optometrist in Elko, NV. Call 775-738-8491 today!