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Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Diagnosis & Management

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

While macular degeneration can happen in at any age, it is most common after age 60. True to its namesake, age is a major risk factor for AMD.

AMD is a progressive degradation of the macula, which is the part of your retina responsible for your central vision. When the macula begins to deteriorate, hazy, fuzzy, or opaque spots form in your central vision.

Diagnosing AMD

During a comprehensive eye exam we screen for signs of AMD using ocular coherence tomography- an extremely precise imaging method can measure the structures and cells of your eyes to within 5 microns of accuracy. In conjunction with the OCT, we use an extremely detailed retinal camera to take high-resolution images of your retina and macula.

With these technologies, we get a clear depiction of your eye and the state of your AMD.

Schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Baldwin and discuss your macular degeneration symptoms.

More About AMD

Macular degeneration is a serious, vision-threatening condition that requires consistent observation and management.

Age is the biggest risk factor for developing AMD. Family history also plays a role, with many genes being confirmed to influence AMD’s development. People of caucasian descent are more likely to develop AMD compared to other ethnicities. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, exercise level, and diet, are also linked with AMD.

Ocular coherence tomography (OCT) and retinal imaging are two tools that we use to diagnose macular degeneration. In addition to this equipment, we also use traditional diagnostic tests (such as the amsler grid).

We are looking for leaking blood vessels, drusen, and other evidence of structural change in the macula.

These tests, in conjunction with an assessment of your visual acuity, gives us a detailed understanding of your vision and how AMD influences it.

AMD begins its life silently. It causes no pain, and for a while it grows undetected. Vision loss is gradual, and AMD on its own generally does not cause complete blindness. It can occur in one or both eyes simultaneously, though most people don’t notice changes to their vision until AMD has formed in both eyes.

Symptoms include:

  • Distortion of straight lines, especially near your central vision
  • Fuzzy, dark, or white spots appear in your central vision

There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: atrophic (dry), and exudative (wet).

Atrophic/Dry AMD

Dry AMD is the cause of most cases of AMD, with approximately 90% of cases being the dry version. As the macular cells begin to age, their properties change and they begin to cease function. Drusen, a build up of white protein, form underneath the retina and impair vision.

Exudative/Wet AMD

This version of AMD is more severe than dry AMD. Weak, sickly blood vessels have formed underneath the retina and leak blood and other fluids into the eyeball. This has a serious effect on vision and can be quite damaging, causing permanent vision loss in its wake.

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