Premier Retina Specialists​

10100 Loop 40 W, Midland, TX 79706  

432-617-0181

For Life-Threatening Emergencies Call 911

 

We are located down the street from Midland International Air and Space Port,

next door (west) to the Post Office.

Macular Degeneration: The Leading Cause of Blindness

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease and is the leading cause of blindness for men and women aged 55 and older in the United States.  The risk for developing the disease increases dramatically with age.

Forms of Macular Degeneration

There are 2 forms of the disease, dry and wet, that affect the macula.  The macula is the central part of the retina that is used for fine detail vision like reading, watching TV, seeing facial features and driving, to name a few. 

Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry macular degeneration can start as Drusen in the macula area.  Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina.  An eye care specialist can see Drusen during an eye examination. Their presence alone does not indicate disease, but it may mean that the eye is at risk for developing more severe AMD.  As the disease progresses the central vision deteriorates.  Dry macular degeneration usually progresses very slowly causing a slow decrease of vision over a long period of time.

Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina lifting the retina up.  The growth of these abnormal blood vessels is called Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV).  The longer the CNV continues to leak, bleed, and grow, the more central vision will be lost.  The earlier the CNV is discovered, the more likely that some of the central vision can be saved.

Treatments for Wet Macular Degeneration 

  • Laser treatment – Laser treatment uses a high-energy laser beam to cauterize the leaking area of the abnormal blood vessel.

  • PDT (Photodynamic therapy) – PDT is used in treating centrally located lesions with a combination of a light-sensitizing drug (Vertiporfen) with Cold laser.  The laser stimulates the drug to close off the leaking abnormal blood vessels without damaging the macula.

  • VEGF Medications – This treatment involves the doctor injecting a medication into the eye, every 4 to 6 weeks for no less than 1 year, that blocks the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a chemical that our bodies produce that stimulates the growth of and feeds the abnormal blood vessels causing the CNV.  The drugs currently available are:

    • Macugen – Pegaptanib

    • Lucentis – Ranibizumab

    • Avastin – Bevacizumab

Prevent the Progression of Macular Degeneration 

Studies have shown that taking a daily VITAMIN high in A, C, Zinc, and possibly  Lutein, decrease the progression of damage of dry AMD and decrease the chance of the disease progressing to wet AMD.  If you’ve been diagnosed with AMD, making a few simple lifestyle changes could have a positive impact on the health of your retina.

  • Monitor your vision daily with an Amsler grid.  By checking your vision regularly, changes that may require treatment can be detected early. 

  • Take a multi-vitamin with zinc. (check with your eye physician for a recommendation).  Antioxidants, along with zinc and lutein are essential nutrients, all found in the retina.

  • Incorporate dark leafy green vegetables into your diet.  These include spinach, collard greens, kale and turnip greens. 

  • Always protect your eyes with sunglasses that have UV protection.  ultraviolet rays are believed to cause damage to the pigment cells in the retina. 

  • Quit smoking.  Smoking impairs the body’s circulation, decreasing the efficiency of the retinal blood vessels.

  • Exercise regularly.  Cardiovascular exercise improves the body’s overall health and increases the efficiency of the circulatory system. 

These are a few tips to make reading easier:

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  • Use a halogen light.  These decrease the glare and disperse the light better than standard light bulbs. 

  • ·         Shine the light directly on your reading material.  This improves the contrast and makes the print easier to see.

  • ·         Use a hand-held magnifier.  A drugstore magnifier can increase the print size dramatically.

  • ·         Try large-print or audio books.  Most libraries and bookstores have special sections reserved for these books. 

  • ·         Consult a low vision specialist.  These professionals are specially trained to help visually impaired patients improve their quality of life.  After a personalized consultation, they can recommend appropriate magnifiers, reading aids, practical tips, and many resources.

Amsler Grid

Amsler Grid Instructions: 

  1. Wear Reading glasses

  2. Cover one eye.

  3. Look at the center dot and keep your eye focused on it at all times

  4. While looking directly at the center dot, pay mental attention to the lines.  Check to see if they all appear to be straight and all the small squares are the same size.

  5. If you think an area on the grid is distorted, blurred, discolored, or appears abnormal in any way, blink a few times then check the grid again.  If the abnormality is still there, call the office right away.

  6. Test each eye separately.

Please call us with any questions that you have about Macular Degeneration. The experts at Premier Retina Specialists are here to help.  

Serving Midland, Odessa, Pecos & San Angelo, TX