Eyecare Services

Macular Degeneration Care in Oklahoma City

Early detection of Macular degeneration  which is a degeneration of the central retina, the macula, is key to preserving central vision.  Timely diagnosis and treatment is very important to preserving vision, and we us the latest OCT technology to evaluate the retinal layers and determine dry from wet macular degeneration.

Diagnosis and treatment of Macular Degeneration in Oklahoma City

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision impairment in adults over the age of 60. The patient’s vision decreases as the macula deteriorates. Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, early diagnosis is key for mitigating its effects and successfully managing the condition. Our physicians at Johnston Eye Associates can  diagnose and manage Macular Degeneration and determine if you have the Dry or Wet form and determine if you need further treatment by a retinal specialist.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

The macula is the very center area of the retina (the sensory tissue at the back of the eye) in which light is focused. Macular degeneration is a degenerative loss and damage to this central area, resulting in blurred, distorted or lost central vision. Macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in the U.S. for those over 50 years of age.

Macular Degeneration Symptoms

Early development of this disease often doesn’t exhibit any symptoms to the patient, but it can be damaging the vision slowly. Fortunately, this can be spotted during routine eye exams. That’s why it’s so important to have regular eye exams with the team at Johnston Eye Associates, especially as you get older.

The first sign most people notice is when straight lines appear distorted or wavy. Otherwise, a gradual or sudden change in vision quality could be the first symptom. These are the symptoms of macular degeneration:

  • Reduced central vision in one or both eyes
  • The need for brighter light when reading or doing close work
  • Difficulty adapting to low light situations, such as entering a dimly lit room
  • Distorted or wavy lines in your central vision
  • Increased blurriness when seeing printed words
  • Difficult recognizing faces
  • The center of your vision may seem dark or blurry

Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two main forms of macular degeneration, including:

  • Dry Form: “Dry” macular degeneration is characterized by the presence of yellow deposits in the macula. These are called drusen. In early stages, a few small drusen don’t cause vision deterioration. But as they grow in numbers and size, these lead to dimming or distortion of vision that is most noticeable when reading. In atrophic dry macular degeneration, patients develop blind spots in the center of their vision; this advances to losing all central vision. Also, in advanced stages of dry macular degeneration, there is a thinning of the light-sensitive layer of cells in the macula, leading to tissue death atrophy.
  • Wet Form: The other form, known as “wet” macular degeneration, accounts for only 1 in 10 cases, but these people make up the majority of those who suffer serious vision loss. The wet form is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid underneath the macula. This is called choroidal neovascularization. These blood vessels leak blood and fluid into the retina. This distorts the person’s vision, as straight lines look wavy and blind spots develop. The bleeding of these abnormal blood vessels creates scar tissue that leads to permanent loss of the patient’s central vision.

When Should I Seek Treatment for Macular Degeneration in Oklahoma City?

While macular degeneration is not curable, its impact can be dramatically slowed by early intervention. That’s why it is important to not ignore any of the symptoms listed above. But even more important are regular eye exams, usually once every two years after you turn 40 and every year after your 50th birthday.

What Are the Treatments for Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

There is no cure for age-related macular degeneration. Early diagnosis  at Johnston Eye Associates we want to diagnose the disease ealry and take steps to slow the progression of the disease. There are more treatments to address the abnormal blood vessels with the wet form than the drusen of dry macular degeneration.

Here are some treatment methods that are used:

  • Anti-angiogenic drugs — For wet macular degeneration, we inject these drugs into the eye. They stop new blood vessels from forming and block the leakage from already existing abnormal vessels. In some patients, these injections can allow them to regain some vision that has been lost.
  • Laser therapy — Lasers can destroy the actively growing abnormal blood vessels, also from the wet form. Also, photodynamic laser therapy uses a light-sensitive drug that is activated to damage the abnormal blood vessels.
  • AREDS2 vitamins — Research from AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) shows some success in reducing the risk for vision loss in some patients with intermediate to advanced dry age-related macular degeneration.
  • Low vision aids — Magnification can be a key to maintaining independence. Special lenses or electronic systems can magnify nearby objects, especially smaller type.

Macular Degeneration Treatment Results

There is no cure for age-related macular degeneration. At Johnston Eye Associates we want to diagnose the disease early and take steps to slow the progression of the disease. Currently there are more treatments to address the abnormal blood vessels in the wet form of macular degeneration than the drusen of dry macular degeneration. These treatments involve injectable medicines into the eye that help kill the abnormal vessels to reduce bleeding and fluid accumulation in the retinal space. 

Those at higher risk for AMD, include caucasions, women, smokers, those with higher body mass index, those who eat a high fat diet, and those with a family history of AMD.