Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration

macularAge-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a common condition that affects many people over age 50. Through a comprehensive evaluation, Sierra Nevada Eye Center can diagnose whether ARMD is present, and what treatments may be available to help.

What is Macular Degeneration (ARMD)?

ARMD is a deterioration of the tissue behind the retina, in the back of the eye. It affects the macula, which is the central part of the retina that is responsible for detailed central vision, both distance and near. Though the exact cause and mechanism of the disease is not completely clear, there is damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) tissue layer that is directly behind the retina; this damage results in deterioration of retinal function and loss of vision.

There are two general types of ARMD, what are commonly known as dry ARMD and wet ARMD. Dry ARMD is more common, and tends to progress more slowly. Though less common, wet ARMD involves growth of abnormal blood vessels behind the retina that can result in bleeding and swelling with rapid loss of vision.

Who can get ARMD?

Anyone over age 50 can get ARMD. In some cases there can be a hereditary component, and in other cases there may be more of an environmental component (such as sun exposure, nutrition, smoking, and other factors).

How is ARMD treated?

There are no proven medical treatments for dry ARMD thus far; however, it is thought that the process of ARMD may be slowed by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including sun protection (sunglasses), healthy diet (especially with leafy green vegetables), and vitamin supplementation.

Wet ARMD can often be treated with medication injections and/or retinal laser treatments. However, these treatments tend to be much more effective if applied early in the course of wet ARMD. That is why it is extremely important to come in immediately for an eye exam if any vision changes are noted.

At Sierra Nevada Eye Center, a comprehensive eye examination along with advanced technological testing can help determine whether you have dry or wet ARMD.

For more information about macular degeneration, visit the following websites:

National Eye Institute
American Macular Degeneration Foundation

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