The two types of macular degeneration are wet, or neovascular, and dry, or non-neovascular. Wet macular degeneration occurs when new blood vessels grow in the macula, and accounts for only about 10 percent of all instances of macular degeneration. With wet macular degeneration, rapid vision loss caused by these blood vessels can lead to eventual blindness.
Dry macular degeneration is diagnosed when yellowish spots begin to appear around the macula. It is believed that these spots are caused by debris from deteriorating macular tissue. Dry macular degeneration does not lead to blindness, but can develop into wet macular degeneration if not treated in time.
Both wet and dry macular degeneration can be spotted during your regular vision examinations. If you are over the age of 65, or if you have a family history of macular degeneration, seeing your eye doctor on a yearly basis is the best way to spot early signs of this disorder before your vision is impacted. However, macular degeneration can develop quickly, making it important to know the symptoms.
Your ophthalmologist can check your eyes for early signs of AMD with a retinal exam. If macular degeneration is suspected, they will have you look at an Amsler Grid which can help truly identify if you are suffering from macular degeneration.
The Amsler Grid is a grid of evenly spaced lines both horizontal and vertical. In the very center is a black dot. Your ophthalmologist will have you stare at the dot and look for any lines that are wavy or missing on the grid. If you identify these areas, your ophthalmologist will then examine the back of your retina for signs of AMD.
AMD is often slow in progression, and if not caught early can begin to exhibit symptoms such as shadowy areas in your central vision or general fuzzy and distorted vision. If you have not been diagnosed with macular degeneration but begin to experience either of these vision disorders, make an appointment with your eye doctor right away to establish if macular degeneration is the cause of your vision troubles.
Catching AMD early can make treatment much easier. Treatment for dry macular degeneration often only requires additional nutritional supplements and simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and exercise, such as taking walks. Wet macular degeneration requires medications that can stop abnormal blood vessel growth. There is no cure for AMD, but macular degeneration prevention measures started early in life can help reduce your risk of suffering from this disorder.
If you are interested in learning more about macular degeneration and your risk factors, please locate an experienced ophthalmologist in your area to schedule an initial consultation today.