It’s estimated 6% of Americans over 40 have some stage of macular degeneration -- a disease that progresses to cause vision loss and blindness. Dr. Wael Abdelghani at The Woodlands Retina Center has extensive experience diagnosing and treating macular degeneration at its earliest stage to prevent its progression. To schedule a comprehensive eye exam, call the office in The Woodlands, Texas, or book an appointment online.
The macula is an area in the center of your retina that contains millions of light-sensing cells. These cells are responsible for sharp, central vision.
Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), occurs when cells in the macula deteriorate. The earliest sign of AMD, drusen, are small deposits of lipids.
Drusen don’t always cause eye problems. When they accumulate, however, they can interfere with the macula’s ability to receive nutrients, which increases your risk of AMD.
Specific changes occurring in the retina define the two forms of AMD:
About 70-90% of patients with AMD have the dry form, which occurs when light-sensitive cells in your macula break down. These changes gradually cause blurry central vision. When AMD goes untreated, you can lose central vision in the affected eye.
Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop behind the retina and grow under the macula. Since these blood vessels are fragile, they often leak blood and fluid, rapidly damaging the macula. Excessive fluid leakage and swelling can also lead to retinal detachment.
AMD doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stage. As the disease progresses you experience:
The earliest sign of dry AMD is blurred vision. As AMD damages more cells in the macula, you have a hard time seeing the details of objects in front of you, such as faces or words in a book.
Seeing wavy lines is the first symptom wet AMD causes. It occurs as excess fluid from leaking blood vessels lift the macula, causing distorted vision.
Your treatment depends on the stage of the disease. Dr. Abdelghani can recommend therapies to slow its progression, which is important because you can’t prevent vision loss once it reaches the advanced stage.
Treatment for wet AMD focuses on stopping abnormal blood vessel growth or destroying existing blood vessels using therapies such as laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, and injections of the latest medications.
Routine eye exams can catch AMD at its earliest stage. To learn how frequently you should get an exam, call Dr. Abdelghani or use online booking to schedule an appointment.