By: Alan Mendelsohn, MD, FACS
Macular Degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in Americans older than 50. The disease reduces the quality of central vision, ranging from a mild loss to a devastating impairment in vision. That is the bad news.
Here is the good news. As a Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Fellowship Trained Ophthalmologist with more than 30 years of experience, I can assure you we can detect macular degeneration, even at its beginning stages, before symptoms arise. The earlier the diagnosis is made, the earlier we can start treatment with the hope of preserving as much of your eyesight as possible.
The macula is a small area in the center of the retina. Its function is to see details of objects in the very center of your vision like the pages of a book or newspaper you are currently reading. While focusing, the macula is of paramount importance to driving, using digital devices, reading, recognizing faces or colors, and seeing objects in fine detail.
There are two forms of macular degeneration. Dry AMD is the most common and is occurs when the macular tissue gets thinner with age, slowly degrading your central vision.
Wet AMD is much more serious than Dry AMD but far less common. Wet AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under your retina. If those blood vessels leak, they will damage the macula, which will quickly impair your central vision.
There are many factors at play in the development and progression of macular degeneration. Smoking, UV light exposure, blue light emissions from digital devices, lack of dietary intake of key ingredients necessary for macular health and genetics are all scientifically proven risk factors.
Prevention is the key. We perform a comprehensive eye exam and OCT macular diagnostic test, to detect drusen, which can be a precursor to macular degeneration. If you are diagnosed with macular degeneration, the key is to have a trained medical professional to diligently monitor your eye health, advising on treatment options if the need arises. Comprehensive eye exams and OCT diagnostic tests, at appropriate intervals, are of paramount importance to vigilantly safeguard macular health and quality of vision.
We also believe there are things you can do to prevent or minimize macular degeneration:
1. Stop smoking immediately. Smoking provokes oxygen deficiency in your tissues and decreases the absorption and effectiveness of Vitamin E and other crucial elements.
2. Wear sunglasses with UV400 blocker and polarization on both lens surfaces.
3. Take AREDS 2 Vitamin supplementations, such as Ocuvite 50+ or Preservision. They contain six key active ingredients, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Copper, in one pill. Alternatively, you can incorporate those six ingredients into your daily diet.
4. Increase consumption of alpha omega 3 fatty acids, including salmon, mackerel, herring, snapper as well as walnuts, hazelnuts, linseed and flaxseed oil.
5. Purchase ophthalmic lenses with “blue blocker” which minimizes transmission of Blue Light from digital devices including computers, tablets, smartphones, fluorescent lights and sun exposure.
6. Schedule a comprehensive eye examination, including appropriate diagnostic testing, with an eye physician. This appointment can be a sight-saver.
Have you been diagnosed with macular degeneration? You have options.
Please contact Eye Surgeons and Consultants of Hollywood, Fla at 954- 894-1500 to set up your appointment or visit www.myeyesurgeons.com for more information.