What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
The macula is a small part of the retina that is responsible for sharp, central vision.
“It’s like a ballpark,” said board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles. “If you think about a ballpark, the pitcher’s mound would be the Macula. It is still part of the entire ballpark; it is just the most central portion of the ballpark. And like the pitcher’s mound, the Macula is an area where a lot of action happens.”
The rest of the retina – the peripheral retina – is responsible for (you guessed it!) side or peripheral vision.
When deposits called drusen and sometimes abnormal blood vessels form under the retina, we call this Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). This happens in older people as part of the body’s natural aging process and can cause a number of symptoms, including:
- A dark or empty area appears in the center of vision.
- Gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
- Objects appear distorted in shape. Straight lines look wavy or crooked.
- Loss of clear color vision
As a result, AMD can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as reading and driving.
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: “dry” macular degeneration and the less common “wet” macular degeneration. With Dry AMD, the tissue of the macula gradually becomes thinner and stops functioning properly. With Wet AMD, fluid leaks from newly formed blood vessels under the macula, resulting in blurred central vision.
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans 60 years of age or older. Currently, about 1.75 million U.S. residents have advanced AMD with associated vision loss. That number expected to grow to almost 3 million by 2020.
Can Cataract Surgery Help Those With Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
According to a study published in the journal Ophthalmology, cataract surgery may be a viable treatment option for patients with varying degrees of AMD. The study evaluated the post-cataract visual acuity of 793 participants (1,232 eyes) and found a statistically significant gain in visual acuity after cataract surgery.
- Participants with mild age-related macular degeneration gained an average of 11.2 letters on a standard eye chart.
- Participants with moderate AMD gained an average of 11.1 letters.
- Participants with severe AMD gained an average of 8.7 letters.
- Participants with advanced AMD gained an average of 6.8 letters.
“If you are diagnosed with early AMD, you can decrease the chances of losing vision,” explained David M. Kleinman, MD, MBA, associate professor of ophthalmology at the Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester Medical Center, in Rochester, New York.
Cataract Surgery and Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment in Annapolis
The Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC) is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Boles and his staff have helped preserve thousands of patients’ vision. They can help you too.
If you have any questions about Cataract Surgery or Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment or wish to schedule an appointment with Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC), please contact Board Certified Ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Kathryn Gurganus Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010 or Click Here to fill out our contact form.
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.