Macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes the loss of central vision due to deterioration of macular tissue in the back of the eye (retina). This is the leading cause of vision loss in adults.
The two forms of macular degeneration are:
- Dry Macular Degeneration – This form progresses gradually, as the macula becomes thin and breaks down, leaving behind material that builds up in the back of the eye.
- Wet Macular Degeneration – Caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the back of the eye, which burst or leak, and leave fluid and blood in the macula. This is the less common, more severe form.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Oftentimes, the diagnosis of dry macular degeneration can prevent the potential occurrence of the wet form, which can appear if degeneration has previously gone untreated.
Symptoms of macular degeneration include:
- Blurred vision
- Distorted or reduced central vision
- Difficulty seeing in low lighting
- Decrease in color vision
- Difficulty recognizing images
- Blank spots in vision
Screening and Diagnosis for Macular Degeneration
As the symptoms of macular degeneration aren’t always obvious to patients, your NorthShore ophthalmologist will be able to diagnose macular degeneration at The Eye and Vision Center using a series of eye exams, including the following:
Treatment Options for Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a chronic condition, and at The Eye and Vision Center, we offer several long-term treatment options to slow the progress of the condition and give you the best tools to adjust to changes in vision. This includes prescribing a regimen of vitamins and minerals to strengthen the eyes. In more severe cases of vision loss, we offer both photodynamic therapy and photocoagulation to close off abnormal blood vessels to prevent them from growing and breaking apart.
Research and Clinical Trials for Macular Degeneration
Within the Department of Ophthalmology are researchers who are always working to find safe, effective treatment options for patients diagnosed with macular degeneration through clinical trials. As the disease does not currently have a cure, our goal is to find the best therapies available for patients to retain their vision. Our current study examines the safety and effectiveness of a new drug in preventing vision loss in relation to wet macular degeneration.
For More Information
For more information on macular degeneration, or to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist, please contact 224.251.2020.