Macular degeneration is a common degenerative condition of the retina that can progress and affect central vision.
There are two main forms of AMD: dry macular degeneration, the more common form (85-90%), and wet macular degeneration (10-15%). Wet macular degeneration is likely to cause severe vision loss. Although the more severe form of the disease is less common, 10% patients per year can progress from dry to wet form.
For a more detailed summary of the disease process, click here. Here are some common questions patients have with macular degeneration:
What are risk factors for AMD?
- Age: also referred to as age-related macular degeneration as it is more common in individuals 50.
- Smoking, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease – research shows smoking doubles the risk.
- Race: Caucasians are at higher risk than African Americans or Hispanic/Latinos
- Family history
How is AMD detected?
- Changes to your central vision.
- Dilated eye exams. It is possible that early signs of AMD may be present without changing your vision. During your dilated exam at Eye Care Associates, we carefully examine the retina for any diseases. We also have specialty photography and imaging that help detect and further manage any signs of AMD.
How often should I go in for an eye exam? How do I treat AMD?
- We recommend annual dilated eye exams to help screen for eye diseases. However, the follow-up for macular degeneration may require more frequent monitoring depending on the stage of the disease. Although there is no cure for the disease, we have ways of treating and minimizing the disease progression.
Schedule and treatment for patients with:
- Risk factors for AMD: Annual dilation to monitor for progression – UV eye protection while outside, smoking cessation
- Early AMD: Annual dilation, above treatment
- Intermediate AMD: 6-12 months depending on severity – above treatment plus self-monitoring with amsler grid, vitamin supplements to prevent progression
- Advanced AMD / Wet AMD: Likely retinal consult with 1-3 month follow-ups
For concerns or questions with macular degeneration, please ask your doctor at your next eye appointment.