Age-related Macular Degeneration
Our eye exams for macular degeneration in Albuquerque are designed to detect the disease in its early stages when treatment is most effective.
At Casey Optical Co., our optometrist, Dr. Christine Kniffen, specializes in diagnosing age-related macular degeneration in its earliest stages, often before symptoms or vision loss occurs. Although there is no known cure for this disease, early detection and treatment can help minimize or even prevent vision loss.
What is age-related macular degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula in our eyes. The macula is the center of your retina which is responsible for clear, sharp central vision. As we get older, our macula can start to deteriorate, leading to symptoms like distortion or loss of central vision. This vision loss can make it difficult for people to recognize faces, read books, or perform other everyday tasks.
What are the signs of age-related macular degeneration?
The symptoms of AMD can vary from person to person, but the most common signs include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Difficulty seeing objects clearly in the center of your line of sight
- Dark or empty spaces in your central vision
- Colors appearing less vibrant than usual
- Difficulty recognizing faces
Types of age-related macular degeneration
The two main types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are dry and wet AMD.
Dry age-related macular degeneration
Dry AMD is the most common form of AMD and typically develops slowly over time. It occurs when the macula thins, and small clusters of protein called drusen form beneath the retina. As these drusen grow, they can cause blurred or distorted vision and eventually lead to central vision loss.
During the early stages of dry AMD, symptoms may not be noticeable. However, as the disease progresses to the intermediate stage, individuals may experience mild symptoms such as difficulty seeing in low light or blurry central vision. In the advanced stage of the disease, people may experience distorted vision (straight lines may appear wavy), dark spots in the central field of vision, and other significant changes in their vision.
Wet age-related macular degeneration
Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is considered more severe than dry AMD and can develop more rapidly. While dry AMD typically develops slowly over time, wet AMD can cause sudden vision changes and significant damage to the macula. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak fluid and blood into the macula. While wet AMD progresses faster than dry AMD and typically causes more severe vision loss, both forms can eventually lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.
Dr. Kniffen at Casey Optical Co. will test for both dry and wet AMD. Atrophic or dry macular degeneration is the most common and represents about 90% of the cases. Exudative or wet macular degeneration accounts for most legal blindness issues.
What are the risk factors for age-related macular degeneration?
There are several risk factors for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), including:
- Age (over 50)
- A family history of AMD
- Medical conditions like high blood pressure
- Poor diet
- Prolonged sun exposure without proper eye protection
More about AdaptDx Pro®
Diagnosing age-related macular degeneration
At Casey Optical Co. in Albuquerque, we offer the latest cutting-edge technologies to diagnose and manage AMD, including AdaptDx Pro® dark adaptation testing by MacuLogix®. This non-invasive test allows our optometrist to detect early-stage AMD by measuring your ability to adapt to darkness. Early detection of AMD is key to preserving vision and ensuring the best treatment outcomes.
Treatment for age-related macular degeneration
While there is no cure for AMD, there are various treatment options available to slow down its progression and manage its effects. Experimental surgical treatments for AMD include implanting a telescopic lens, submacular surgery to remove abnormal blood vessels or blood, and retinal translocation to destroy abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula’s center. Some studies also show that eating a diet high in green, leafy vegetables and taking certain vitamins may help slow down the progression of AMD. Dr. Kniffen can assess your vision and eye health needs and recommend the best treatment for your specific case.
Schedule an eye exam for macular degeneration in Albuquerque
People of all ages should get regular eye exams, especially if they are at high risk of developing AMD. If it’s been a while since your last eye exam, contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward protecting your vision from age-related macular degeneration.