Macular Degeneration FAQs

Macular Degeneration FAQs

Comprehensive Eye Exams don't just check your vision, they also see whether or not you are showing signs of eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, or if you have signs of macular degeneration and require further treatment from your eye doctor. If it is suspected that you have macular degeneration, it is likely that you will have many questions that need attention in order to assure that you can navigate the condition and retain as much of your vision as possible. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we hear at Vision Source DC.

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What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration causes more vision loss than cataracts and glaucoma put together and is currently incurable. Its definition is in its name; it is literally the deterioration of the central part of the retina, also known as the macula, which controls the central portion of the vision. This part of our vision allows us to do things like reading, drive, and recognize faces.

There are both wet and dry types of macular degeneration, but most people who have the disease have the dry type. They also tend to develop it as they age, which is why it is often referred to as AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) and it manifests in three stages.

How is Macular Diagnosed? 

Macular degeneration is diagnosed as part of a comprehensive eye exam. With your eyes dilated, your eye doctor will view the back of your retina and check for signs of the disease, such as yellow deposits and nerve damage. Several other tests are used as well to confirm the diagnosis.

Can I Tell if I Have Macular Degeneration?

In the early stage, people usually don't notice the changes from macular degeneration, but your eye doctor will see yellow deposits behind your retina that will allow for a diagnosis. Vision loss begins in the intermediate stage, but it is often subtle and feels like small distortions in vision. In the late stage, portions of the central vision are blocked. 

In order to help you participate in identifying AMD, there is a daily test called an Amsler Grid that can be viewed each day. If the line every become wavy, it is time to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

Can an Eye Doctor Save My Eyesight- who should I see?

Both optometrists and ophthalmologists are qualified to treat macular degeneration.  Although you can't reverse any level of macular degeneration you already have, it is possible to slow the progression with treatment. Several medications can be used to control blood vessels growth. You can also take precautionary measures such as consuming plenty of antioxidants, not smoking, wearing sunglasses, and getting regular eye exams. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact Vision Source DC in Washington, D.C. at 202-298-6878.

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