What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a dangerous eye condition that affects the macula and typically develops in people around 50 years or older. The macular is the center portion of the retina, which is responsible for central vision, color perception, and small details. This structure has an impressive number of photoreceptor cells that help patients observe light. However, if the macula is damaged, wet or dry macular degeneration may form. Over time, this condition can lead to partial or total vision loss. Since this disease is progressive, it's important to get professional help as early as possible. At inVision Ophthalmology Birmingham in Birmingham, AL, our team takes special care to address macular degeneration and help manage the condition.
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"I recently had an eye exam by Dr. Stephanie Bedsole. To start, I have a very complicated prescription. I have astigmatism, double vision, and dry eyes. I wear progressives with a prism (for the double vision) and a rotation for astigmatism.While my previous eye doctors have been competent it is Dr. Bedsole’s going over and above mere competence which allows her to stand out over and above other optometrists. To begin with, Dr. Bedsole answered several emails and questions I had even before I made my first appointment with her.Dr. Bedsole provided a very thorough eye exam. She answered all of my questions and at no time did I feel rushed. She double-checked my prescription once with my eyes not dilated and once with them dilated. Seriously, she performed the entire eye exam TWICE. At every stage of the exam, I asked her question after question. She very patiently and with expertise answered every question. She not only understood one issue I was having with the eye exam and knew exac"- B.D. / Healthgrades / Jul 30, 2022
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How Is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?
Wet or dry macular degeneration is diagnosed through one or more tests. At inVision Ophthalmology Birmingham, we may conduct the following to diagnose the condition:
- Visual acuity test: The classic eye chart test, which measures central vision.
- Dilated eye exam: A test that widens the pupils, allowing your ophthalmologist to monitor the back of your eye for signs of macular degeneration.
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT): Uses light to scan the eye and takes high-resolution images of the macula.
- Fluorescein angiogram: Checks the blood vessels of the eyes using a fluorescent dye.
Treatments for Macular Degeneration
While macular degeneration does not currently have a cure, our team can still help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Depending on the type of macular degeneration you are suffering from (wet or dry), we may recommend any number of treatment options, including laser procedures, low-vision aids, or certain supplements. Each patient will receive a personalized treatment plan that is fully tailored to their eye health and needs. While your macular degeneration will not go away, the progression of the disease can be slowed or stopped, and your severe symptoms may be reduced.
Macular Degeneration FAQ
How many people have macular degeneration?
Approximately 11 million people in the U.S. have macular degeneration.
What are some of the symptoms of macular degeneration?
Some of the symptoms of macular degeneration include a blurry or blind spot in the center of your vision, difficulty adjusting to low light levels, haziness in your central vision, and difficulty recognizing faces.
How is dry macular degeneration different than wet macular degeneration?
Dry macular degeneration, which is the gradual breakdown of light-sensitive cells in the retina, accounts for 90% of cases. Wet macular degeneration is rarer (only 10% of cases) and is the more advanced form of macular degeneration. It is caused by blood or fluid leaking into the eyes from blood vessels with abnormalities. It accounts for 90% of cases of legal blindness.
Manage macular degeneration
At inVision Ophthalmology Birmingham, our skilled eye doctors are able to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions. Although macular degeneration does not currently have a cure, our team has the tools and knowledge to help you live a more comfortable life. Contact our team in Birmingham, AL to learn more about the solutions we offer and how we aim to help you improve your eye health.