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Doctor insights on: Macular Degeneration

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Dr. Richard Scartozzi
575 Doctors shared insights

Macular Degeneration (Overview)

A partly genetic disease affecting vision that happens to older people. There are two types: dry or wet, which are treated in different ways.


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How does macular degeneration affect a person's vision?

How does macular degeneration affect a person's vision?

See below: It usually affects the central vision; i.e., one's reading vision. Symptoms includes central blurry or missing spots or distortion/waviness in vision where straight lines appear wavy (metamorphopsia).

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Dr. Richard Scartozzi
575 Doctors shared insights

Macular Degeneration (Overview)

A partly genetic disease affecting vision that happens to older people. There are two types: dry or wet, which are treated in different ways.


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What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

Decreased vision: Symptoms of macular degeneration may include: decreased central vision, distortion of straight lines, poor light tolerance and dark adaptation and in very severe cases visual hallucinations.

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What is the first sign of macular degeneration?

What is the first sign of macular degeneration?

Vision changes: The first symptom most people experience with macular degeneration is a change in vision. An amsler grid is a simple screening tool available for home use that can allow patients who are at risk for macular degeneration to monitor for such changes.

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How can you verify a diagnosis of macular degeneration?

How can you verify a diagnosis of macular degeneration?

Dilated exam: Macular degeneration comes in two general forms: wet and dry. The dry form is generally clinically diagnosed on exam while the wet form is diagnosed using special Fluorescein dyes and optical coherence tomography - a type of laser scan of the retina.

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Can laser photocoagulation be used to treat macular degeneration? I'm 65 and was recently diagnosed with macular degeneration. I want to do whatever I can to prevent myself from going blind. Is laser photocoagulation a safe treatment to cure my condition?

Can laser photocoagulation be used to treat macular degeneration? I'm 65 and was recently diagnosed with macular degeneration. I want to do whatever I can to prevent myself from going blind. Is laser photocoagulation a safe treatment to cure my condition?

Not really: Modern treatment of macular degeneration involves the use of laser photocoagulation less and less. Most people have dry macular degeneration which does not require surgical intervention. For those with the wet form, drugs are used much more than lasers today. Regardless of the treatment, we cannot cure macular degeneration currently. We can only manage it.

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What exactly is macular degeneration?

Two types: This is a failure of the maintainance of the health of vessels supplying the critical, central portion of the retina. In the 'wet' form, the vessels leak and can cause sudden, profound vision loss. The dry form vessels slowly dry up, leading to gradual vision loss. Meds to treat the wet form are available and if successful, convert you to the dry form. Use the areds supplement to slow it down.

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Question about macular degeneration? Going to annual exam. Should I ask for tests for it?

Question about macular degeneration? Going to annual exam. Should I ask for tests for it?

See below: Ask your eye doctor to check for macular degeneration. If you have it or if you want to be more certain whether you have it, see a retina specialist.

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How long does it take for severe damage to last if you have macular degeneration?

Any time: Macular degeneration is a "spectrum" disease: it can be very mild for a very long time, or can become severe rather quickly. Once damage sets in, it tends to progress. The "dry" form is slower to progress but has no good treatments available. The "wet" form is more devastating but there are some good therapies that can control it if caught early.

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What is known to cause macular degeneration?

What is known to cause macular degeneration?

Unknown: The cause (trigger) for this condition, which is age related, is unknown. We know the effects, have some treatments available, and there is really extensive research in the cause but no positive results so far. A few are inherited but most have no obvious inheritance pattern. This is treated by retinal specialists who should be consulted if you are having problems.

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What does it mean when parent has age-related macular degeneration?

You are At Risk: Most of the risk of developing amd is genetically determined, meaning that it is inherited from parents. A smaller risk is conferred by environmental factors such as smoking. There are genetics tests available in many retina offices which can determine your risk with a mouth swab.

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What is the best way to treat macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration: Dry type treatment = areds2 vitamins, uv protection, no smoking. Wet type treatment = eye injections with steroid or anti-vegf medication or laser treatment. You need to see a retina specialist.

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What is treatment for macular degeneration?

There are 2 kinds: Wet and dry. You need to see a retina specialist, ask your eye doctor for a referral. The dry type is less treatable, the wet one has options. The most optimistic seems to be intraocular injections of drugs like bevasizumab, avastin (bevacizumab).

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What sort of treatments for age-related macular degeneration?

What sort of treatments for age-related macular degeneration?

Dry and Wet: Dry armd is treated with areds oral supplementation in pill form as well as protection from uv light. Eating a diet of leafy green vegetables is important. Wet armd involves leaking, or bleeding retinal blood vessels. Treatment is with anti vegf injection in the eye and occasionaly laser treatment.

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Is it possible to cure macular degeneration?

To some degree: Macular degeneration is a wide spectrum of conditions where the tissue in the back of the eye changes with time. In most types where there is primarily gradual loss of function there is no real cure currently. In the "wet" types there is growth of scar tissue. These types may be helped significantly with injections of a variety of drugs into the eye to suppress the growth of the scar tissue.

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Can laser photocoagulation be used to treat macular degeneration? I was recently diagnosed with the "dry" form of macular degeneration. Is having laser photocoagulation a treatment option available to me, and would this prevent further vision loss? .

Can laser photocoagulation be used to treat macular degeneration? I was recently diagnosed with the "dry" form of macular degeneration. Is having laser photocoagulation a treatment option available to me, and would this prevent further vision loss? .

Laser no help: Laser for dry macular degeneration has been studied well. Laser to the macula of dry amd patients makes drusen go away, so it looks better on exam. The laser does not change whether or not there is vision loss. Vitamin supplementation is the only proven preventive therapy, and reduces the risk of vision loss by about 25%. The vitamin formula now recommended is called areds 2 formula.

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What's age-related macular degeneration? Who gets it?

Retinal degeneration: Age-related macular degeneration is a breakdown in the retinal tissue in the back of the eye with subsequent decrease in central vision. The exact mechanism is not 100% understood, but build-up of waste products over time and inflammation are thought to play a role. It is usually present in individuals over the age of 70; family history and cigarette smoking can also increase the risk.

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Is macular degeneration genetic?

Is macular degeneration genetic?

Some: There are a few inherited forms especially those in the young and those associated with drusen deposits that have strong inheritance. Less certain is the inheritance pattern of ordinary, older age macular degeneration - the data is still being worked out. You can help protect your macula with a good diet, avoidance of sunlight and stopping smoking.

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Who is most at risk for macular degeneration?

Older age Caucasian: Smoker, obese, family history of amd, also CRP and complement factor h.

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How can I help prevent macular degeneration?

How can I help prevent macular degeneration?

AREDS vitamins: The national eye institute did a study that showed that a particular vitamin formula called areds can help reduce progression of macular degenration in people with high risk characteristics. You should see your ophthalmologist to determine if you have these characteristics. There are particular eye vitamins that your eye md may recommend for your general ocular health.

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