Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that affects more than 10 million Americans and is the leading cause of blindness in those over 65. This disease affects the center of the retina, known as the macula which is the paper-thin tissue lining the back of the eye. The macula is responsible for acute vision, which is the part of the eye used for reading, driving, and other activities that require sharp or straight-ahead vision. The cells in the macular region gradually begin to die which leads to blind spots and distorted central vision.
Age-related macular degeneration comes in two forms, dry and wet. Ninety percent of age-related macular degeneration cases are dry macular degeneration which occurs when the macula begins to thin and dry. Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels form under the retina causing the vessels to leak both blood and fluid causing distortion and scarring. The disease can affect one or both of the eyes.
While the causes of age-related macular degeneration are unknown, age and a family history of age-related macular degeneration can help determine whether a person is at risk. Those with light colored skin and eyes are also more likely to develop AMD. Lifestyle habits such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and excessive exposure to sunlight can increase your risk for developing AMD.
It is important to diagnose AMD as early as possible. Blurred or wavy vision, distortion of straight lines and dark spots in the central vision. At Island Retina, we can treat AMD with Optical coherence tomography (OCT), a technique for obtaining subsurface images of translucent or opaque materials at a resolution equivalent to a microscope. It is a noninvasive test and takes seconds. It allows Dr. Weber to diagnose and treat numerous retinal problems including macular degeneration.