Age-related macular degeneration can present as either dry macular degeneration or wet macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration is indicated by a blind area in the visual field or blurred vision.
This chronic disease is usually the result of nonstandard blood vessels that grow and lead to the leakage of blood into a patient’s macula. The macula is charged with the responsibility of providing clarity in one’s central vision. Wet macular degeneration is severe but less common compared to dry macular degeneration.
It is not clear what causes wet macular degeneration (MD). However, it tends to develop in people who have dry MD. Around 20 percent of people with AMD have the wet type. It can develop due to onset of abnormal blood vessels or fluid buildup in the eye towards its back. Macular degeneration does not affect peripheral or side vision. This means that it hardly ever causes complete blindness.
Wet macular degeneration always begins as dry MD, the condition worsening over time. The indications of wet MD often appear suddenly, and it can deteriorate rapidly. The symptoms include:
Some factors can increase people’s risk of developing wet MD. Age is a risk factor as the disease affects people over 55. The disease is usually hereditary, and those with a family history of MD have greater chances of getting it. The disease affects Caucasians more than other races. Other risk factors are smoking, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Routine eye examinations help identify MD early. Several measures can prevent the development of the severe condition. Managing other health conditions is a good way to prevent MD. This means taking medications as prescribed and following the doctor’s instructions.
Other prevention measures are quitting smoking, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, and consuming a balanced diet. A diet that includes fish, vegetables, and fruits can reduce the risk of eye conditions.
To diagnose the condition, doctors go over the patient’s family and medical past and then carry out extensive eye exams. Several tests are used during diagnosis. The doctor will dilate the eyes to observe the back of the eye. The eye exam will look for flaws in the central vision using an Amsler grid. Other tests include fluorescein angiography, indocyanine green angiography, and optical coherence tomography.
Early detection and treatment of wet MD can help reduce vision loss. There are several treatment options available for wet MD. Medications can be used to block the generation of new blood vessels. Some therapies include photodynamic therapy, photocoagulation, and low vision rehabilitation.
For more on macular degeneration, visit Sacramento Eye Consultants at our office in Sacramento or Lincoln, California. You can call (916) 915–0300 today to schedule an appointment.