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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Nobody Thinks About Macular Degeneration… Until They Have It

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a serious disease that often occurs in seniors. Over a million Canadians live with AMD, coping with vision loss and facing potential blindness. What you may not realise is, you could be one of them. AMD often develops without presenting any symptoms, meaning you could have AMD and not even know.

The good news is, you don’t have to deal with this alone. At Shelburne Primary Eye Care, we are well equipped to diagnose and treat AMD, as well as answer any questions you might have. We are focused on you and the health of your eyes.

At Shelburne Primary Eye Care we are focused on the prevention of AMD. We educate our patients about the causes of AMD and how to decrease the risk of developing AMD.

Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

For the most part, age-related macular degeneration does not present any symptoms in the early stages; the disease is painless. However, patients may notice shadowy figures or blind spots in their central vision. It’s also not uncommon for lines to appear warped or wavy.

AMD Can be Caught Early Through Eye Exams

Since AMD is asymptomatic, it can often go undiagnosed until it has already caused significant damage. That’s why eye exams are so important. Visit us for your annual eye exam; we’ll look for the early signs of AMD as well as other age-related eye issues like cataracts and glaucoma. With our retinal imaging we can catch these diseases early to help prevent or decrease the risks of vision loss.

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

The macula is the small area of the retina responsible for your central vision. When the macula is damaged, the cells can begin to wither and die. The way the macula becomes affected depends on the form of AMD the patient has. There are two types of AMD:

Dry Form AMD

Dry Form AMD is the more common and slower moving type. It occurs when fatty, yellowish deposits called drusen start to collect around the macula. This keeps light from reaching the photosensitive cells, affecting the vision. In particularly serious cases of dry AMD, the macula cells can start to die off.

Wet Form AMD

The wet form of AMD is rarer but far more serious than the dry form. This occurs when irregular blood vessels start to grow in and around the retina. These blood vessels are damaged and often bleed into the eye. The blood and fluid from the irregular blood vessels block the macula and obscure vision. In particularly severe cases, the blood vessels can lead to the development of scar tissue.

Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration

While the damage caused by AMD is irreversible, there are treatments available to slow the progression of the disease and prevent any further vision loss.

There are a few treatment options that come in the form of drug injections. These medicines are injected directly into the eye, where they work to inhibit blood vessel growth. This reduces the eventual leakage from irregular blood vessels.

The priority with wet AMD is to stop irregular blood vessels from leaking into the eye. This can sometimes be accomplished with lasers. Lasers are used to seal off the damaged parts of the blood vessels; essentially burning them shut.

This small piece of innovation may be the newest available treatment for AMD. The pea sized implant is designed for patients who have lost the majority of their central vision. This prosthesis is put inside the eye, where it projects images onto the retina, thereby reconstructing some of the vision that has been lost.

Combatting AMD Through Good Nutrition

Research suggests that certain nutrients can help prevent the development and progression of AMD. At Shelburne Primary Eye Care, we’re passionate about bolstering your eye health through a balanced diet. Visit us to talk about how nutrition can impact your eyes, or check out our eye nutrition page.

Visit Our Shelburne Practice

Come see us on First Avenue, across from the Post Office and the Legion.

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207 First Avenue East,
Shelburne, Ontario L9V 3J9

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