Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) can be a visually devastating disease that causes irreversible damage to your macula, the area of your retina responsible for your clear, crisp central vision. As the disease progresses, it results in distorted images, decreased ability to see colors and fine details, and in later stages blind spots in your vision. There is no pain associated with vision loss from ARMD.
Normal vision in a patient without ARMD vs the vision of a patient with vision changes secondary to ARMD
Types of ARMD
Dry ARMD: this considered the less aggressive form which often has a slower progression and less severe visual consequences. This condition is diagnosed with a comprehensive dilated eye exam and is routinely monitored thereafter for progression or conversion to wet ARMD. At this time there is no treatment for dry ARMD, but supplements containing nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin have been proven to boost macular pigment and slow progression.
Wet ARMD: this is the more severe form of ARMD in which the tissue in the macula becomes disrupted resulting in new blood vessel growth, bleeding and scar tissue formation. Patients will notice a blind spot or blur in their central vision if this occurs. This often leads to permanent vision loss and requires immediate attention to preserve vision. Treatment often includes injection of medication into the eye or laser surgery.
- Age greater than 60 - UV exposure
- Family history of ARMD - Caucasian
- High blood pressure - Cardiovascular disease
- Smoking - Obesity
Detection and Preservation of Vision
During your comprehensive eye exam we are able to assess your risk for the development of ARMD as well as if there are any changes present that may result in the diagnosis of ARMD. Aside from a dilated retinal exam, we offer two additional screening tests that can provide a more detailed look at your retina, as well as your risk for ARMD.
Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT)
Our Topcon 3D OCT1-Maestro allows us to look at retinal tissue at a microscopic level giving us a much more detailed look at these tissues past what can be seen with the naked eye. This advanced technology allows for early detection of ARMD. It provides a baseline evaluation from which changes in future years can be measured against. We recommend all patient's to have a baseline screening, especially if the have underlying risk factors for the development of ocular diseases such as ARMD.
Macular Pigment Ocular Density (MPOD)
The MPOD allows us to measure a risk factor for AMD in that it can measure the amount of protective macular pigment in the retina. Lower density of macular pigment has been correlated to a higher chance of developing macular degeneration. Early detection and monitoring prior to symptoms occurring is crucial to preservation of vision.
Recommendations for Patients
Whether you have been diagnosed with ARMD or are concerned you may develop the disease based on your risk factors, there are a few things you can do to preserve your vision.
- Smoking cessation
- Use adequate sun protection when outside
- Eat a diet rich in leafy green vegetables to help boost macular pigment
- Dietary supplements, when indicated. At Pavletic Eye Care we offer EyePromise Vision Supplements to help boost macular pigment in patients who are at risk for vision changes due to macular degeneration.