What Is Age Related Macular Degeneration or ARMD?
The macula on the retina provides sharp, central vision. The breakdown of the macula is a disease called macular degeneration, and can be serious. Untreated macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in those over 65 years old.
While researchers have not yet discovered a cure for age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), there are treatment options which prevent the disease from progressing to blindness, and in some cases, they can even improve vision. It’s important to have an open discussion with your eye doctor about the risks and limitations of ARMD treatments.
Types of Macular Degeneration:
There are 2 basic types of ARMD, the wet form and the dry form.
- Dry macular degeneration is considered the less aggressive form of ARMD. It typically progresses much more slowly, and the level of eyesight damage is less severe. Dry ARMD is detected during routine eye exams, which is why it’s important to have yearly testing. Treating Dry AMD often involves high doses of zinc and antioxidants which have been shown to slow diseases progression.
- Wet macular degeneration is the more severe form of ARMD. Call us to book an emergency eye doctor’s appointment if you experience a sudden worsening of blurry central vision. Wet ARMD occurs when there is abnormal blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), and leakage, which can cause scar tissue to develop. Treatments include laser surgery, injecting light sensitive dyes, or AMD medication injected directly into the eye to inhibit angiogenesis.
Learn More About ARMD
ARMD is an age related eye disease that runs in families, and is a leading cause of blindness in our aging population. There is no cure for this ocular disease, and ARMD related vision loss cannot usually be recovered. There are treatments, and preventative measures that can be taken, if detected early, so routine eye exams are essential.
Read more about macular degeneration symptoms and treatment.
Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide for informational material that aided in the creation of this website.
Our Diagnostic Equipment
The Macular Pigment Optical Density test, or MPOD, is a useful tool in measuring your eye’s resistance to harmful blue light. Only 1% of eye doctor offices in the US have this insightful technology. Recent studies suggest that blue light, which is emitted from phones, digital screens, TVs, and even sunlight can cause damage to your eyes after prolonged exposure. If your score on the MPOD is low, you could be at higher risk for developing macular degeneration, especially if you have a family history.
Lower pigment scores have also been suggested as being a cause of increased glare, poor color vision and visual discomfort while using electronic devices. Recommendations are offered if scores are low, to improve your eye health. Yet another bonus, if your levels are high, it helps your brain work better!
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
An Optical Coherence Tomography scan (commonly referred to as an OCT scan) is a newer advancement in imaging technology. Similar to ultrasound, this diagnostic technique employs the back of the eye. Our first OCT was acquired in 2007. It acquired 24,000 scans in one second. In February 2021, our third OCT was purchased and acquires 71,000 scans in one second. Our latest OCT has the ability to scan the blood vessels, the healthier the optic nerve and retina. Changes can be tracked over time.
A scanning laser is also used to analyze the layers of the retina and optic nerve for any signs of eye disease, similar to a CT scan of the eye. It works using light without radiation, and is essential for early diagnosis of glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinal disease.
With an OCT scan, doctors are provided with color-coded, cross-sectional images of the retina. These detailed images are continuing to revolutionize early detection and treatment of eye conditions such as wet and dry age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy.
An OCT scan is a noninvasive, painless test. It is performed in just a few minutes. Feel free to contact our office to inquire about an OCT at your next appointment.