Gulf Coast Eye Institute

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Leading Cause of Vision Loss, Impacting More than 10 Million Americans

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease that causes loss of vision, usually in people over age 50. In fact, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, impacting more than 10 million Americans—that’s more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
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What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

While Gulf Coast Eye/Valley Retina Institute is a pioneer in retinal research, the exact cause of age-related macular degeneration is unknown and it is currently considered an incurable eye disease. You can be sure, though, that our research and development specialists at Gulf Coast Eye/Valley Retina Institute have our eyes on a future cure.

Age-related macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, called the macula. The macula is responsible for focusing central vision and controlling our ability to read, drive, recognize faces or colors and see objects in fine detail.

Regular eye exams are vital to diagnose potential problems and maintain visual health. Conditions are more receptive to treatment during their early stages. Once the macula has been severely damaged, treatment is not possible.

Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

In the earliest stages of macular degeneration, vision may become blurred for reading or distance or both. Central vision is also affected. A very important symptom to pay attention to is distortion. Straight lines and edges may appear slightly bent. You may also see a dark gray spot in the center of images, or notice that the sizes or colors of objects don’t appear the same for each eye. These symptoms require prompt attention by your Gulf Coast Eye/Valley Retina Institute retina specialist.

Dry And Wet

There are two basic types of age-related macular degeneration: dry and wet. Approximately 85% to 90% of the cases of AMD are the dry, or atrophic type; while 10% to 15% are the wet, or exudative type.

Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

To reiterate, there is currently no cure for macular degeneration. Prevention and monitoring are the best medicines.

A healthy lifestyle can be important in reducing risk by:

  • Adopting a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fish
  • Supplementing your diet with vitamins high in specific antioxidants (A, C, E, beta-carotene and zinc)
  • Incorporating a special combination of vitamins and minerals in your diet (consult your retina specialist at Gulf Coast Eye/Valley Retina Institute)

Intravitreal injections are a way to treat wet macular degeneration. Special drugs are placed in the eye to help slow down vision loss from macular degeneration and, in some cases, may improve sight.

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