The macula is the center of the retina, the nerve tissue in the eye that senses light. The macula allows us to see fine detail and provides our reading vision.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common causes of vision loss in adults over age 50. Over time, AMD affects the quality of your central vision. The loss of central vision can impact simple, everyday activities such as your ability to see faces, drive, read, or write.
Macular degeneration develops as a result of deterioration to the central portion of the retina, known as the macula. As we grow older, degenerative spots, called drusen, start to form within the retina and can cause progressive retinal damage and vision loss.
While age is the primary cause of AMD, certain lifestyle choices can increase your risk of developing the disease. Smoking, high blood pressure, a poor diet, and a family history of AMD all increase the likelihood of macular degeneration.
AMD usually develops slowly over time, which results in a gradual loss of vision. In rare cases, vision loss can be sudden. In the early stages of the disease, AMD symptoms include dark, shadowy areas in your central vision or blurry, fuzzy, or distorted eyesight.
Macular degeneration is diagnosed based on careful examination of the eyes. Additional testing, most commonly Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), is critical for accurate diagnosis and management of this disease. The Medical Eye Center offers the most advanced, high-resolution OCT for the diagnosis and management of macular degeneration.
In some circumstances, fluorescein angiography, a specialized imaging test will also be needed to assess the disease. During the test, yellow dye (fluorescein) is injected via the arm. As the dye makes its way through your blood vessels, a special camera takes pictures of your retina. The dye makes it easier to capture the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina, which is a sign of wet AMD.
The Medical Eye Center offers the most advanced diagnostic tools and treatment options for macular degeneration in Manchester, Nashua and Bedford, NH.