Macular degeneration is an eye disease that damages the macula (the central part of the retina), which is responsible for central vision. When the macula is damaged, it becomes difficult to see detail, such as small print or small objects.
Symptoms include blurred vision, seeing objects that seem to fade or disappear, seeing wavy lines that are actually straight, and impaired color vision. If left untreated, macular degeneration can lead to total blindness.
There are two different types of the disease: dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. In dry macular degeneration, material builds up in the tissues underneath the macula, reducing blood flow to the retina. With wet macular degeneration, newer, weaker blood vessels grow in or under the retina. When these fragile blood vessels break, they leak fluid into the space under the macula.
There are currently no medical or surgical treatments for dry macular degeneration; however, there are two laser treatments for wet macular degeneration: photocoagulation and photodynamic therapy. During photocoagulation, a hot laser is applied to slow the progression of abnormal blood vessels. Photodynamic therapy involves using a cold laser and intravenous drugs to slow the progression of abnormal blood vessels in the retina.
Wet macular degeneration is treated most commonly with intraocular injections. There are several medications currently available that have been shown to reduce the abnormal blood vessel formation that occurs in wet macular degeneration. These injections often need to be repeated, but are relatively painless and work better than other treatments to date
Regular eye care appointments are imperative to the early detection and successful treatment of macular degeneration. Don't wait until you have symptoms. Contact us in Smithtown or Riverhead today to schedule an exam.