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Macular Degeneration in Nashville, TN

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About Macular Degeneration

The macula is the middle part of the retina, and it is this portion of the eye that produces our central — rather than peripheral — vision. The macula lets us observe minute details, drive, read, and perceive colors well, as well as serve a host of other functions. During the natural aging process, especially in those near or over 60 years old, the health of the macula may begin to regress by a process known as macular degeneration. This condition develops when the proteins contained in the retina start to clump together (called dry macular degeneration) or when blood vessels underneath the retina weaken, resulting in bleeding or leakages (known as wet macular degeneration).

Dry macular degeneration often occurs first, and in some patients, may progress to wet macular degeneration. The wet type of this condition is more severe and is responsible for the greatest amount of vision loss. Both wet and dry macular degeneration can impair a patient's central vision; however, with proper care, men and women are typically able to keep enough peripheral vision to allow them to live independently in terms of carrying out many of their regular activities. As of today, there is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are still several treatment options available that can delay or manage the disease.

At Wang Vision Institute in Nashville, TN, we look for signs of macular degeneration in patients during their comprehensive eye examinations. Our team of skilled eye surgeons and ophthalmologists have been trained to identify indicators of this condition, as well as perform a number of treatment techniques to help delay or arrest the disorder. Depending on how far along your condition is, we may refer you to a retina specialist to receive further care and evaluations.

Symptoms

Even though both dry and wet macular degeneration are generally associated with aging, they do cause somewhat different symptoms to manifest. The dry form of the condition is the most commonly occurring because it is always the first to develop. While there isn't treatment available for dry macular degeneration currently, it tends to progress gradually. Many individuals who have the dry type will experience a reduction in central vision but still maintain enough sight to accomplish everyday tasks. A couple of the potential signs of dry macular degeneration are: 

  • Noticing blind spots in one's central vision
  • Distorted vision

The wet type of this condition is not diagnosed as frequently as its more common counterpart, but it is more severe. If proper care or management is not sought out, patients may rapidly experience central vision loss. However, there are some options today that can help control the disease's progression. A few of the potential signs of wet macular degeneration are: 

  • Skewed vision, including straight lines appearing bent
  • A weakened ability to see color
  • Noticing blind spots

Causes

Dry macular degeneration always develops and then later progresses into the wet type. This condition results when the proteins within the macula harden and form clumps, which can lead to blind spots or blurry vision. The dry type of this disease then becomes wet macular degeneration when the blood vessels behind the retina start to develop abnormally. Over time, they may weaken, become swollen, and eventually bleed or leak.

While there have been no concrete causes associated with the development of this condition, experts have noted some factors that could put one at a greater risk for dry and wet macular degeneration. A person's age, genetics, and lifestyle habits (such as smoking) are the primary risk factors associated with this condition. Likewise, having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being obese, or having light hair and eyes could also contribute or indicate a higher likelihood of contracting the disease.

Treatment Options

While dry macular degeneration doesn't currently have any specific treatment solutions, there are a number of low-vision therapies and aids aimed to help individuals maintain their independence and ability to complete daily tasks. Meanwhile, the wet form of the condition may be addressed with some options, such as laser surgery. At Wang Vision Institute, our skilled and compassionate team works with macular degeneration patients frequently. We will suggest low-vision therapies to address your case of vision loss and help improve your ability to complete regular activities. However, if your case of macular degeneration is further along or in a later phase, we will connect you with a qualified retina specialist to care for your condition and help restore or improve your quality of life.

Seek Help Today

At Wang Vision Institute, we understand that being diagnosed with macular degeneration can be frustrating or even worrisome for many individuals. This is why our skilled team of eye professionals are here to help you. To ensure that your eye health is at its best, contact our Nashville, TN office and schedule your comprehensive eye assessment. We want you to know that you have options, even while suffering from macular degeneration. Our team looks forward to helping you achieve your best quality of life once more.

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