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Macular degeneration is the leading cause of central vision loss among older people. It results from changes to the macula, a portion of the retina, responsible for clear, sharp vision, and located on the inside back wall of the eye. The macula is many times more sensitive than the rest of the retina and without a healthy macula, seeing detail or vivid color is not possible. There are several causes for macular degeneration. In one type, the tissue of the macula becomes thin and stops working well. This type is thought to be a part of the natural aging process in some people.
In another, fluids from newly formed blood vessels leak into the eye and cause vision loss. If detected early, this condition can be treated with laser therapy, but early detection and prompt treatment is vital in limiting damage. Macular degeneration develops differently in each person, so the symptoms may vary.
Until recently, there was nothing to be done for this condition.
Advancements in technology and science has given us some mega dose vitamins that may be indicated in certain types of macular degeneration. Additionally, the FDA has approved some exciting medications such as avastin and lucentis which have worked to stabilize the condition. The next logical step is diagnostic testing to detect those at risk BEFORE a loss in vision occurs. In keeping up with the latest technological advances and in striving to deliver better patient care, we are very excited to offer a quick, painless test called the “Foresee PHPTM” to monitor patients with “dry” macular degeneration. The device is very helpful in assisting our ophthalmologists with catching this rapidly-progressing disease right upon conversion to the vision-threatening “wet” form, before irreversible vision loss occurs.
Macular degeneration treatment is ineffective for dry macular degeneration and is administered to patients with wet macular degeneration. A major reason for the devastating effects of the macular degeneration has been a lack of effective monitoring tools to detect the conversion from the dry to the wet form of the disease. With previous techniques such as the Amsler grid, diagnosis often happens too late - after the disease has been “wet” for enough time that retinal damage and vision loss have already occurred.
Treatment works best early on, right when the disease converts to the “wet” form of the disease. If you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, call to schedule a Doctor consultation to determine if you are a candidate for PHP testing.
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Some of the most common symptoms include:
These symptoms may also indicate other eye health problems, so if you are experiencing any of these, you should contact your doctor of optometry immediately.
In a comprehensive eye examination, your doctor will perform a variety of tests to determine if you have macular degeneration or another condition causing your symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no way to restore central vision damaged by macular degeneration. However, since macular degeneration does not damage side vision, low vision aids such as telescopic and microscopic special lenses, magnifying glasses and electronic magnifiers for close work, can be prescribed to help make the most of remaining vision. Often, a person, with adaptation, can cope well and continue to do most things they were accustomed to doing.
Remember! Early detection of macular degeneration is the most important factor in determining if you can be treated effectively. Maintaining a annual schedule of optometric examinations to help protect your vision.
* Please consult your eye doctor for further details. This information is presented for informational purposes and is not designed to substitute for the advice of your eye doctor.
Dr. Joseph Audia 2403 West Main St. Salem, WV 26426 304-782-1005 Dr. Joseph Audia 345 Floral Drive Harrisville, WV 26362 304-643-2117
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