Macular Degeneration Treatment in Orange County – Clarity Eye Group
Serving Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Costa Mesa and Seal Beach
Macular Degeneration: What Is It?
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans over age 65. The eye disease slowly destroys central vision, making it difficult to see near or far objects. This causes vision to be blurry, dark or distorted. However, the disease does not affect peripheral vision. This means that an Orange County macular degeneration patient may be able to see the outline of a clock, but will not be able to see what time it is.
Macular degeneration is primarily caused by the natural aging process; although other causes of macular degeneration include smoking, hereditary factors, obesity and inactivity.
While the symptoms vary widely based on the severity of the disease, most of our Orange County macular degeneration patients first notice shadowy or blurred vision. The distorted vision eventually progresses to a blind spot in the center of the field of vision. In some cases, macular degeneration can cause straight lines to appear crooked, as in shown in the Amsler Grid below.
Macular Degeneration: Dry and Wet Forms
Macular degeneration appears in two forms, known as wet (neovascular) and dry (non-neovascular) macular degeneration, which have similar symptoms and causes. Dry macular degeneration is the more common of the two types and appears in up to 90 percent of all of our macular degeneration Orange County patients. Wet macular degeneration is less common but more advanced.
Macular degeneration begins with the dry form, as the eye tissue begins to deteriorate and decay. In dry macular degeneration, yellowish waste from retinal cells called drusen becomes deposited below the retina. This blocks nutrients from reaching the retinal cells. Most of the time, the disease can be contained to the dry form. However, about 10 percent of macular degeneration cases advance to the wet form, as the body responds to the decay and fights to replenish lost nourishment by creating new, abnormal blood vessels underneath the retina. Blind spots and rapid, severe vision loss occurs when these new blood vessels leak blood and fluid into the eye, causing permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells.
Treatment of Macular Degeneration in Orange County
There is currently no cure for macular degeneration; however, lifestyle changes, medication, and surgical treatments can slow the progression of wet macular degeneration. (There is currently no treatment available for dry macular degeneration.) Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medications can slow down abnormal blood vessel formation.
If macular degeneration is discovered early, Orange County / Huntington Beach macular degeneration patients can be treated with laser eye surgery or photodynamic therapy. These treatments are effective at helping stop any further formation of blood vessels. However, laser eye surgery and photodynamic therapy cannot reverse any previous damage. Macular degeneration surgery is also available. A procedure called thermal photocoagulation surgery can stop abnormal blood vessels in the eye from growing and leaking, which can delay the advancement of macular degeneration.
To learn more about macular degeneration treatments, contact eye care professionals at Clarity Eye Group today.