Macular Degeneration

Columbia Eye Associates & Family Focus Eye Care

Eye Center & Medical Aesthetics Center located in Lake City, FL, Live Oak, FL & Gainesville, FL

Nearly 20 genes affect your risk of developing macular degeneration according to the National Eye Institute. The skilled ophthalmologists of Columbia Eye Associates & Family Focus Eye Care in Lake City, Live Oak, and Gainesville, Florida, are highly knowledgeable about the many ways macular degeneration can negatively impact your daily life. For attentive and personalized optometric care and to work on improving and protecting your eye health, call Columbia Eye Associates & Family Focus Eye Care or use the online scheduler today.

Macular Degeneration Q & A

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration happens when clear vision turns hazy. The main symptom is a blind spot that usually develops in the center of your field of vision.

The impaired and blurred central vision occurs due to the thinning of the macula near the center of your retina. With macular degeneration, the lining of the visual nerves at the back of your eye becomes abnormal.

Macular degeneration typically begins in one eye and later progresses and impacts both eyes. Macular degeneration has two types: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration might develop into wet (neovascular) macular degeneration in which the blood vessels grow under the retina and begin to leak.

Macular degeneration is most prevalent in those over age 65. It’s often called age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

Some of the most common symptoms of macular degeneration include:

  • Visual distortions (for example, when straight lines appear bent)
  • Impaired central vision
  • Difficulty adjusting to changes in lighting
  • Difficulty reading words and letters
  • Blurred vision

If you have macular degeneration, you might notice you need brighter lights when you’re focusing on things up close, such as reading. Symptoms of macular degeneration occur gradually over time, and the condition is typically painless.

If you experience any changes in your central vision or unusual symptoms, visit Columbia Eye Associates & Family Focus Eye Care as soon as possible. Be sure you stay up to date with your comprehensive eye exams so your optometrist can identify any abnormalities early on. Your optometrist can screen for macular degeneration with a dilation eye exam.

What causes macular degeneration?

The exact cause of macular degeneration isn’t clear. A combination of environmental factors, such as poor nutrition and smoking, and genetics can increase your risk of developing the condition.

Factors that heighten your risk for macular degeneration include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease

With aging, your eyes naturally experience wear and tear. Certain parts of your eye, such as the macula, can thin and break down over time.

How is macular degeneration treated?

To treat macular degeneration, your optometrist might recommend:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as a nutrient-dense diet
  • Nutritional supplements, such as lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, and zeaxanthin
  • Medicated injections
  • Laser therapy
  • Low vision devices, such as handheld magnifiers and telescopes

When macular degeneration is detected early, you have a better chance of preventing any further vision loss with effective medical treatments and self-care methods.

If you have concerns about your eye health and you’d like to learn more about macular degeneration, call Columbia Eye Associates & Family Focus Eye Care or book online today.