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Macular Degeneration From Your Columbia Optometrist

When the central area of the retina begins to deteriorate with age, it is referred to as macular degeneration – or age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD). Because the macula is deteriorating, it becomes more difficult to see things clearly at the center of the field of vision. As your Columbia optometrist, it is our goal to help detect macular degeneration early on and to help slow down its progress. Please schedule an appointment with our optometry team to learn more.

Macular Degeneration

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is an eye condition that most commonly affects adults age 60 and older, although it degeneration can occur in younger individuals. Smoking can make the risk of developing macular degeneration greater, as can a family history of the disease. 

When the macula begins to deteriorate, deposits often form in the macula that makes it difficult to see at the center of your vision. The deposits make it hard to distinguish faces and other details that tend to sit in the middle of your visual field.

There are three stages of macular degeneration:

  • Early – There is no treatment for early macular degeneration. The condition is monitored for progression.
  • Intermediate – Most intermediate macular degeneration is treated using supplements to make the eyes healthier and retard the progress of the disease.
  • Advanced – For advanced macular degeneration, the treatments become more significant and invasive, possibly including surgery if nothing else has been effective in slowing the progress of the disease.

Is Treatment Effective?

Several eye care studies have demonstrated that certain vitamin supplements may be effective in slowing the progress of macular degeneration, especially in eyes that were not healthy to begin with. Some of the supplements that your eye doctor may recommend include Zeaxanthin, Lutein, Vitamin C, Zinc and Beta Carotene. Fish consumption may also help to slow down the progress of macular degeneration.

If treatment is not effective, it can be extremely frustrating. Having worked with a variety of patients suffering from macular degeneration, our optometry team understands that frustration. It is our job as your eye care team to help you learn to cope with vision problems if we cannot effectively treat them. We will do everything we can to slow or stop the progress of the disease. But if we are not successful, we do have tools and options that can help you lead the life you want to lead.

Are There Ways to Prevent Macular Degeneration?

Although it is impossible to know who will develop macular degeneration and who will not, there are certain risk factors that have been shown to make macular degeneration more likely. They include:

Aging

Getting older does increase your risk of developing macular degeneration. While those over 60 start to experience an increased risk level, those that are older are at a greater risk of developing the condition. People in their 60s have about a one percent chance of experiencing significant vision loss from macular degeneration, while those age 90 have about a 15 percent chance.

Obesity

Obese individuals are about twice as likely to develop advanced macular degeneration.

Heredity

If one of your parents or grandparents had macular degeneration, you may be more likely to develop the disease.

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Dorothy Park & Associates

The best way to protect yourself from all eye diseases is to get regular eye exams from an eye doctor. Please contact us today at Dr. Dorothy Park & Associates at (803) 254-6306 to schedule an appointment and get your eyes checked!