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Posted on 04-03-2017

Macular Degeneration Diagnosis and Treatment with Our Eye Doctors in Ocala

Macular degeneration is among the leading causes of vision loss and blindness in this country, affecting as many as 10 million people in the United States alone. But what is it exactly? What causes it, and how is it treated? Our Ocala eye doctor team proudly provides comprehensive optometry services, including macular degeneration treatment, for the people of Ocala, Silver Springs, Dunnellon, Anthony & The Villages, FL. Read on to learn more. 

Man getting tested for macular degeneration at his optometrist.

Top Macular Degeneration Causes & Symptoms

The retina is the thin tissue covering the inside of the back of your eye and contains millions of photoreceptors (specialized cells that transform visual information into signals that are sent to the brain via the optic nerve). The area of the retina that is associated with your central vision is known as the macula and is critical for visual tasks including reading and driving. 

Sometimes as people age, the retinal tissue and macula can progressively become damaged. This is what happens in age-related macular degeneration (often called AMD).

There are two types of macular degeneration:

  1. Wet Macular Degeneration (Exudative AMD) - this form is caused by an overgrowth of small blood vessels in the retina; these blood vessels leak fluids and causes disruption to/scarring of the macula.
     
  2. Dry Macular Degeneration (Atrophic AMD) - this form is much more common and caused by gradual and progressive degeneration of the macular photoreceptors. In many cases, people with dry AMD have small yellow crystalline deposits, called drusen, on their retinal tissue, which is thought to be related to (or at least a risk factor for) the disease process.

Macular degeneration symptoms often don't develop until well after the disease has progressed significantly. The primary symptoms include blurry vision or complete vision loss in the very center of a person's visual field. The peripheral vision is not affected in macular degeneration.

Macular Degeneration Treatment in Ocala

So, how is this eye disease treated? Our Ocala optometrists work carefully with each patient to develop a comprehensive treatment plan based on their unique health history, lifestyle, disease severity, and specific needs. 

In general, dry AMD is managed with nutritional counseling to slow the disease process and improve the health of the remaining retinal and macular tissue. The progression of the disease is followed by carefully analyzing it using photography and with retinal image scans using an ocular coherence tomographer (OCT). These additional tests can help detect the early signs of conversion from dry AMD to wet AMD early in the disease so that treatments have a better success rate. In some cases, our optometrists may also refer you to another eye care specialist who may elect to provide injections or laser surgery to prevent wet AMD from progressing.

The vision loss from both wet and dry AMD can also be well managed with the implementation of low vision strategies and optical devices to maximize a person's vision.

How's Your Eye Health? Let Our Eye Doctors Near Ocala Screen You For Macular Degeneration & Other Eye Diseases

At Ritz & Johnson Eyecare Center, our optometrist team helps hundreds of people every year struggling with a variety of eye diseases, including macular degeneration. From low vision strategies to prescription eyewear, we have the tools, techniques, and treatments to help you maximize your vision and eye health. To schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors near Ocala, contact us at 352-732-7900.

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