Macular degeneration is a disease of the retina that causes vision loss in the center of the field of vision. It is most common in older adults and can cause blurred vision, difficulty seeing fine details, and a loss of color perception.
While it may take around 10 years to get from diagnosis to legal blindness among patients with AMD, timely intervention by an eye specialist is always necessary in suspected cases of AMD. This is especially important considering that there are instances of macular degeneration which are known to lead to vision loss in just a matter of days.
This disease of the eye exists in two types: dry and wet macular degeneration. The wet type is more serious and can lead to blindness if not treated. The early symptoms of macular degeneration may be subtle and go unnoticed, so it is important to get regular eye exams.
The most common symptom is a gradual loss of central vision, which makes it difficult to see objects straight ahead. As the disease progresses, people may also have difficulty seeing colors and details.
Macular degeneration is caused by damage to the light-sensitive cells in the retina. The most common cause is age-related macular degeneration, which occurs when the cells gradually lose their ability to function properly. There is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are treatments that can help slow down the progression of the disease.
Which Eye Specialist can Diagnose Macular Degeneration, and how is it done?
Macular degeneration can be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in treating eye diseases, and an optometrist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating vision problems.
To diagnose macular degeneration, the eye specialist will perform a dilated eye exam. This involves using a special lens to enlarge the pupil and allow the doctor to see the back of the eye. The doctor will look for signs of damage to the retina and will test your vision to see if you have lost any central vision.
While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are treatments that can help slow down the progression of the disease. The most common treatment options are:
- Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs: These drugs help to prevent blood vessels from growing and leaking fluid into the retina. They are injected into the eye, and they may cause side effects such as eye pain, tired eyes, and headaches.
- Laser therapy: This involves using a laser to destroy the abnormal blood vessels that are causing the leakage of fluid. It is an outpatient procedure, and it may cause side effects such as temporary blurred vision, redness, and swelling of the eye.
- Photodynamic therapy: This involves injecting a drug into the bloodstream that makes the abnormal blood vessels sensitive to light. A beam of light is then focused on the blood vessels, and this causes them to burst and die. It is an outpatient procedure, and it may cause side effects such as headache, nausea, and vomiting.
- Low vision aids: These are devices that help people with low vision to see more clearly. They include things such as magnifying glasses, special eyeglasses, and light filters.
If you’re seeing an eye specialist for macular degeneration, you could be wondering what to expect during your appointment. Well, not all eye exams are the same. The following is a list of what to expect during an appointment with an ophthalmologist:
- The ophthalmologist will ask about your symptoms and when they began.
- They will perform a dilated eye exam. This involves using a special lens to enlarge the pupil and allow the doctor to see the back of the eye.
- They will test your vision to see if you have lost any central vision
Some other tests they may order include;
- An optical coherence tomography (OCT) test which can help detect early signs of macular degeneration.
- A fluorescein angiography (FA) test which can be used to detect leaking blood vessels in the retina.
- A fundus autofluorescence (FAF) test to check for any changes in the retina that may indicate macular degeneration.
- A fundus photography test which is a special imaging test that can be used to take pictures of the back of the eye.
The ophthalmologist may also ask about your medical history, including any other health conditions you have and any medications you are taking. If you are diagnosed with macular degeneration, the ophthalmologist will discuss with you the best treatment options for you.
Depending on the stage of the disease, they may recommend one or more of the treatments listed above. Remember, there is no cure for macular degeneration, but these treatments can help slow down the disease’s progression.
How can you Prevent Macular Degeneration from Occurring or Worsening in your Eyesight?
There is no sure way to prevent macular degeneration. The good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease. Try these:
- Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet is important for overall health and can help reduce the risk of developing many diseases, including macular degeneration. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and make sure to include foods rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries, spinach, and tomatoes.
- Limit your exposure to sunlight: Too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can damage the retina and increase the risk of developing macular degeneration.
- Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of developing many diseases, including macular degeneration.
- See an eye doctor regularly: It is important to have regular eye exams to detect and treat any problems early.
- Use a good quality sunscreen: Sunscreen can help protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful UV radiation.
Some people with macular degeneration may eventually lose their vision entirely, while others may retain some vision. There are many resources available to help people who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, including support groups, low vision aids, and online forums. If you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, it is important to talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
The Bottom Line
The eye specialists who can diagnose macular degeneration are ophthalmologists. They may order a variety of tests to help determine if you have the disease. Note that there is no cure for macular degeneration, but since there are treatments that can help slow down its progression, you always have a chance of retaining some vision.
We have highly skilled and experienced Ophthalmologists who can help diagnose Macular Degeneration. Please contact us for a consultation. Call: +65 6732 1741.
Asia Retina – Eye specialist (Ophthalmologist) in Singapore, Dr Claudine Pang #15-10 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd, 238859 +65 6732 0007 https://asiaretina.com