Macular Degeneration

Eyecare Professionals

Optometrists located in Mandan, Hazen & Washburn, ND

Up to 11 million Americans suffer from macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss and permanent blindness. If you’re over age 60, your risk for macular degeneration increases as your eyes get older. To protect your vision, visit Eyecare Professionals in Mandan, Hazen, and Washburn, North Dakota. The experts at Eyecare Professionals focus on macular degeneration prevention and early detection to keep your eyes healthy. Call your nearest office or request an appointment online today.

Macular Degeneration Q & A

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is an eye condition in which the macula, the part of the eye critical for clear central vision, begins deteriorating. Macular degeneration is a serious eye disease that can lead to irreversible blindness.

Macular degeneration often develops as you age, but getting older isn’t the only risk factor. Other factors that may put you at increased risk for macular degeneration include:

  • Family history of macular degeneration
  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Having light skin color or light eye color
  • Being female

Dry and wet macular degeneration are the two most common types of the disease. Dry form macular degeneration develops when yellowish deposits, called drusen, appear on the macula. Wet form develops when blood vessels grow abnormally around the macula and leak blood and fluid.

What are the signs of macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration often causes vision changes slowly, and vision loss may not be noticeable at first. There are three stages of macular degeneration, and as the disease progresses, vision loss becomes more severe.

Early-stage macular degeneration usually has no signs. At this stage, the condition can only be detected in an eye exam, when medium-sized drusen begins to form on the macula. 

In intermediate macular degeneration, larger drusen deposits form but vision loss can still go unnoticed.

Vision loss may not be noticeable until late-stage macular degeneration, when drusen deposits grow larger and permanent central vision loss occurs. 

Vision loss with macular degeneration appears as holes or dark spots in your central vision. It makes seeing faces, reading, and driving particularly difficult.

How is macular degeneration diagnosed and treated?

Since warning signs of macular degeneration aren’t always obvious, the best way to identify the condition is a comprehensive eye exam. 

Your doctor will perform a variety of tests to evaluate your eye health and detect any signs of macular degeneration before you experience vision loss.

The first sign of macular degeneration is often the presence of drusen. The macular pigment density scanner is a test that allows your doctor to evaluate the health of your eye from the inside and assess your risk for macular degeneration.

When the condition is diagnosed early, treatment for macular degeneration is typically effective at preventing vision loss and slowing the condition. 

Depending on your eyes, the doctors at Eyecare Professionals may recommend prescription drugs, laser therapy, or other treatments to help maintain the quality of your vision and prevent macular problems in the future.

For state-of-the-art early detection, prevention, and treatment of macular degeneration, visit Eyecare Professionals. Make your appointment online or call the office nearest you today.