Macular degeneration is a common problem that affects more than 11 million Americans. When left untreated, macular degeneration increases your risk of serious vision problems, including blindness. At Orange County Cataract and Glaucoma in Santa Ana, California, Anand Bhatt, MD, can diagnose and initiate treatment for macular degeneration. To determine your risk, book online to schedule an appointment, or call the office today.
Macular degeneration is the number one cause of vision loss globally. It’s a serious disease that causes your macula –– a small area at the center of your retina –– to deteriorate. Over time, this damage results in central vision loss. Central vision is what you see when looking straight ahead.
At Orange County Cataract and Glaucoma, Dr. Bhatt can diagnose all types of macular degeneration, including:
Dry macular degeneration occurs when small deposits of a yellow material called drusen collect beneath your macula. Over time, the buildup of drusen damages your retina, resulting in vision loss.
Wet macular degeneration is much less common. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels form at the back of your eye, underneath the retina and macula. As the blood vessels continue to grow, they begin leaking blood. This excess fluid at the back of your eye damages your macula and may cause a black spot to form in the center of your vision.
The symptoms of macular degeneration vary depending on the underlying type.
Common symptoms of dry macular degeneration include:
Common symptoms of wet macular degeneration include:
If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t wait to seek professional help. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can take action to prevent vision loss.
To diagnose macular degeneration, Dr. Bhatt conducts a comprehensive eye exam and reviews your vision health history. He then asks questions about your symptoms and lifestyle and orders a series of tests, including a field of vision screen and a dilation test.
During a dilation test, Dr. Bhatt uses special eye drops to make your pupils larger. This allows him to see the back of your eyes and assess if there’s a buildup of fluid, blood, or drusen.
If these tests don’t provide enough insight, Dr. Bhatt might also order optical coherence tomography. These diagnostic imaging procedures provide detailed photos of your retina and the surrounding tissue structures.
There’s no cure for macular degeneration, but it’s possible to minimize vision loss with early intervention.
If you have dry macular degeneration, Dr. Bhatt might recommend vitamin supplements and frequent follow-ups. You might also benefit from working with a low vision rehabilitation specialist.
If you have wet macular degeneration, Dr. Bhatt may recommend prescription medication that prevents the growth of new blood vessels. You might also benefit from photocoagulation. This procedure uses high-energy, targeted laser beams to destroy abnormal blood vessels.
To learn more about treatment for macular degeneration, request a consultation at Orange County Cataract and Glaucoma. Book online to schedule an appointment or call the office today.