What are the Signs of Wet Related Macular Degeneration?
Wet macular degeneration is a painless but serious eye disease diagnosed by your Westchester optometrist during an eye exam. Unlike “dry” macular degeneration which occurs gradually over time, wet macular degeneration typically happens quickly when blood vessel abnormalities allow blood to leak into the macula. An important component of your retina, the macula is responsible for high-acuity vision and for providing central-field vision. When blood vessels leak fluid, this fluid displaces the macula so that objects in your central vision become blurry and distorted. Opaque or shadowy areas interfering with your central vision emerge as well. Immediate treatment for wet macular degeneration is essential to prevent vision loss.
Cause of Wet Macular Degeneration
The rapid growth of weak blood vessels in the eye that leak fluids are the primary cause of wet macular degeneration. Your optometrist in Winchester wants you to know that certain risk factors may increase your chance of suffering wet macular degeneration. These risk factors include:
- Age (wet and dry macular degeneration is mostly diagnosed in people over 60 years old)
- Having a family history of wet macular degeneration
- Smoking or being consistently exposed to second-hand smoke
- Being overweight/obese
- Cardiovascular disease or any disease that affects blood vessels and the heart
Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration from Your Westchester Optometrist
Three types of treatment are used to delay progression of wet macular degeneration: ocular injections, photodynamic therapy, and laser surgery. Medications injected into the eye help stop new blood vessel development by blocking growth signals meant to create new vessels. If injections do not work, eye doctors may recommend photocoagulation laser surgery to dissolve leaky, fragile blood vessels. However, since photocoagulation procedures may destroy healthy tissue in the eye, this particular eye disease treatment can only be used on blood vessels existing apart from the macula’s central area.
Photodynamic therapy involves intravenous injections of a drug that targets ocular blood vessels. By shining a special light in the eyes, your Westchester optometrist activates the drug, which causes vessels to shrink and eventually close so that leakage stops. In some cases, photodynamic therapy may improve vision. Repeated treatments are often necessary since some blood vessels could reopen and start leaking again.
If you are suffering signs of wet related macular degeneration, please call Westchester Eyecare Center today at (310) 670-1888 to schedule an appointment with an optometrist for a complete eye exam.