If you’ve been diagnosed with macular degeneration, you’re certainly not alone. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, as many as 10 million Americans today are affected by this eye disease. This is a progressive condition that can lead to loss of your central vision over time. While macular degeneration cannot be cured, the eye care providers at Hecker Eye Care Associates in Greensboro, North Carolina, use state-of-the-art technology to diagnose this disease and help slow its progression. It’s crucial to get regular eye examinations for macular degeneration, so schedule an appointment online now or book over the phone today.
Macular degeneration causes damage to the macula, which is the central part of the retina. This area is important for our central vision. When it isn’t functioning properly, this process is interrupted, making it difficult to drive, read, or see objects clearly.
The most common type of macular degeneration — called “dry” macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration — is caused by deposits in the outer layers of the retina. The disease usually impacts people ages 55 and older, with about 90% of people with macular degeneration having it.
Age-related macular degeneration typically occurs in four distinct stages:
Vision is usually not impacted in the early stage, but there are yellow deposits — called drusen — beneath the retina, which the experts at Hecker Eye Care Associates are able to identify during an eye examination.
The condition has progressed and your vision may now be impacted, but the symptoms are still mild. The deposits of drusen have increased in this stage, and there may be changes to the pigment in the retina that are also identified by a comprehensive eye examination.
At this advanced stage, your vision loss is more noticeable with atrophic and fibrotic areas of the macula.
At this stage, new blood vessels grow from underneath the retina and leak fluid, causing hemorrhage and visual decline. Thankfully, this can be monitored with the ForeSee Home Monitoring Device and can be treated if identified early.
The risk of getting macular degeneration increases over time as you get older. People most prone to being affected include:
There is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are things that can help to slow its progression.
You can also make important lifestyle modifications to help prevent the onset. These include avoiding smoking, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise.
It’s also important to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. During your examination, your physician at Hecker Eye Care Associates can help you come up with a plan for your specific situation.
As the condition progresses, they may recommend taking supplements with important nutrients to improve your eye health.
The primary key in diagnosing and managing macular degeneration is having regular eye examinations. From there, your eye care provider at Hecker Eye Care Associates can help you create a plan of action.
At the early stage, age-related macular degeneration is treated with a diet that’s high in antioxidants, carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids to support the health of the eye cells.
Eating things like fresh fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, and high-protein foods — including beef, pork, and lamb — can be beneficial. One weekly serving of fatty fish — including sardines, herring, salmon, and tuna — is also recommended.
This type of diet is also good for people with a family history of macular degeneration, even if they don’t yet have any signs themselves.
Book your appointment online at Hecker Eye Care Associates today or call the office.