Macular Degeneration Eye Care In Abilene, Austin and Fort Worth
At Eyehelp in Abilene, Texas, our eye doctor has been a leading provider of low vision services in Abilene, Austin and Fort Worth. Our vision clinic is built upon the concept of providing the absolute highest quality of medical eye care available. Our practice boasts the latest technology for assessing and treating various eye diseases including the Optos Digital Eye Exam. If you have been told by an eye doctor or eye surgeon there is no hope, give us a call for a free low vision consult and if you are a candidate we can get you back your independence with advanced telescope glasses, low vision aids, and more.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Does Macular Degeneration Cause Blindness?
Macular degeneration is also known as age related macular degeneration (ARMD or AMD) is the leading cause of Vision Loss and Legal Blindness in Americans over the age of 50.
Macular degeneration effects the macula of the eye which causes central vision loss.
Central vision is what allows for reading, watching TV and seeing faces. The effects of macular degeneration are irreversible and very limiting, as it reduces the freedom and independence of the patient in a drastic manner.
Macular Degeneration can be split into three categories:
- Dry macular degeneration.
- Wet macular degeneration.
- Juvenile macular degeneration.
All three cause central vision loss, in this page we are dealing with Dry and Wet which are called age related macular degeneration because they effect people over 50. Approximately 85% of ARMD cases are of the Dry variety.
Macular degeneration is a disease that effects central vision, and therefore unlike other eye diseases the patient usually has remaining peripheral or side vision. In addition to the stress of being unable to perform daily tasks such as reading and driving, patients with macular degeneration are at significantly increased risks of accidents and falls due to their deteriorating vision.
Macular Degeneration is typically split up into three stages:
- Early macular degeneration-Generally the patient is without vision loss.
- Intermediate macular degeneration-Generally without symptoms but some experience beginning stages of vision loss.
- Late macular degeneration- Wet AMD: Significant vision loss occurs rapidly Dry AMD: Significant vision loss occurs slowly.
Currently there is no cure or treatment for macular degeneration although researchers are experimenting with novel new treatments such as using the patients stem cells, regenerating damaged nuerons, and using DNA for early detection.
What Can Be Done For Macular Degeneration?
Living and Adjusting to Macular Degeneration
Macular Degeneration is not treatable, it is the goal of the low vision eye doctor to provide the patient with the maximum independence possible through the use of low vision aids such as telescope glasses, low vision aids, low vision bioptic telescopes for driving, and IMT low vision telescope implants for late stage AMD. During the assessment our eye doctor will assess the patients vision as well as understand what are the vision goals of the patient. In many cases the patient has one or two tasks that cause them immense sorrow that they cannot accomplish, such as driving, reading, playing cards, visiting friends alone, and seeing their grandchildren's faces.
Patients with macular degeneration face the challenge of adjusting to a life with limited vision. Daily tasks that used to be taken for granted like using the internet, reading a letter, driving and watching television are now challenging or impossible. Our eye doctor will assess the patients visual level and desires and recommend the best option of visual aides that will assist the patient in achieving their desired tasks. One of the questions our low vision optometrist hears a lot is "Can I drive again?". In many cases a patient with macular degeneration can drive with customized bioptic telescopes.
Vitamins and Macular Degeneration
The macula of the eye has three main cartenoids, antioxidant pigments that help the macula preform its task.
The AREDS 2 study is a multi year study judging the efficacy of taking these antioxidants in the form of a supplement as a way of reducing progression of macular degeneration.
The original AREDS formula reduced incidence of advanced macular degeneration by 10%-25%, and the latest version AREDS 2 increased the reduction by 20%. The formula as recommended by the National Eye Institute is:
- 500 mg vitamin C
- 400 iu vitamin E
- 10 mg lutein
- 2 mg zeaxanthin
- 80 mg zinc
- 2 mg copper