Macular Degeneration Treatment with Your Clarksville Optometrist
The phrase" tunnel vision" is often used to describe someone whose viewpoint is limited to the objects directly in front of him. As bad as this sounds, however, the opposite -- being unable to the see text, faces and objects you're directly facing -- would surely be even more debilitating. This is precisely what can happen if you suffer from an age-related eye disease called macular degeneration. This progressive disease causes irreversible retinal damage that can rob you of your ability to read, drive, watch TV, or observe your loved ones' expressions. Since there's no reversing the damage done by macular degeneration, it's absolutely imperative that you do whatever you need to do to get the condition under control. Here at Sites Vision Clinic, any of the optometrists in our Clarksville TN offices can diagnose your condition early through regular eye exams and then recommend the right treatments to help keep the disease in check.
Causes of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is often referred to as AMD (age-related macular degeneration) because it tends to manifest itself after middle age. In fact, it's the most prevalent cause of vision loss in the 60-and-older demographic of the U.S., and as the population ages, we anticipate that some 17.8 million Americans will suffer from it by the year 2050. Caucasians are more likely than other ethnic groups to develop macular degeneration. Natural risk factors include family history of the disease, light-colored irises, and farsightedness. But lifestyle choices can also play a role; for instance, smoking is known to double the risk, while obesity, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease also raise the risk. Excessive exposure to blue light (the kind emitted by computer monitors) may also encourage AMD's development.
Signs, Types and Symptoms
Macular degeneration targets a specific zone of the iris called macula. This retinal tissue receives the images that make up your central visual field. When the macular suffers damage, this area of your vision can become progressively worse or even unusable. While AMD may cause no symptoms early on, as the disease advances you may start seeing wavy lines instead of straight ones, or grayish blobs where images should be. In the worst-case scenario, you may be left with only peripheral vision.
Macular degeneration generally falls into one of two primary categories, "dry" (atrophic) and "wet" (neovascular). Most people with AMD have the dry variety, which causes particles called drusen to form on the macula. This stage tends to cause less vision loss than the more advanced wet stage. In wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels grow out of control in the eye, with their weak walls spilling blood into the normally-clear, gelatinous substance called the vitreous.
Smart Steps To Optimizing Your Eyesight
The sooner we respond to a case of macular degeneration, the more easily we can keep it from seriously impairing your vision. That’s why it's so critical to schedule those regular comprehensive eye exams at Sites Vision Clinic. Our ability to see inside the eye allows us to detect AMD signs such as drusen, abnormal blood vessels, and bleeding in the eye. Meanwhile vision testing lets us determine to what extent your vision may already be affected.
Our approach to treating your macular degeneration will depend largely on what stage it's in. There is no specific medical treatment for dry macular degeneration, so we will focus on monitoring the condition's progress and recommending specific lifestyle changes such as giving up smoking, losing weight, controlling your blood pressure, and wearing computer glasses that block blue light. Wet macular degeneration can respond to a nutritional program called AREDS2. We may also recommend injections to stop the growth and spread of those weak-walled blood vessels. If necessary, we can refer you to an eye surgeon for procedures to replace a blood-tinged vitreous or seal off leaky blood vessels.
Need an Optometrist in Clarksville?
If you seek protection against macular degeneration, start by choosing the right optometrist in Clarksville. Call either of our Sites Vision Clinic locations to schedule comprehensive eye exams and vision testing!