Macular degeneration, often called AMD (for age-related macular degeneration), is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over age 50, but treatment may slow its progress or even improve vision. If you live or work in the Reading PA area, schedule an appointment with the specialists at Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania to discuss your options.
Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania provides state-of-the-art AMD care in Berks County, Schuylkill County, and throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, using the latest techniques and treatments. All of our doctors are board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and continually update their skills and knowledge to offer patients the latest advancements in eye care.
Barry C. Malloy, MD is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and completed a vitreo-retinal fellowship at the Washington Hospital Center after earning his medical degree the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Michael Cusick, MD is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and completed a medical and surgical vitreo-retinal fellowship at the Duke Eye Center after earning his medical degree at Georgetown University.
Dr. Malloy and Dr. Cusick have vast experience in the most current treatments of retinal disorders, including macular degeneration, macular edema, retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, and other complex retinal conditions.
How AMD Damages Vision
The retina is a very thin tissue that lines the back of the eye and sends visual signals to the brain. A tiny area in the middle of the retina is called the macula. The macula consists of millions of light-sensing cells that help to produce central vision.
There are two forms of AMD:
- Dry AMD – Nearly 90% of all individuals with AMD have dry AMD, and all people who have wet AMD had the dry form first. Scientists are still not sure what causes it, but studies suggest that part of the retina becomes diseased, leading to the slow breakdown of the macular cells and a gradual loss of central vision.
- Wet AMD – Although only 10% of individuals with AMD have wet AMD, it is responsible for the most serious vision loss from the disease. Wet AMD occurs when new blood vessels grow underneath the retina and leak blood and fluid under the macula. This causes rapid damage to the macula and can lead to blind spots in the central vision.
Because people over the age of 60 represent an increasingly larger percentage of the general population, vision loss caused by AMD is a growing problem.
Treatment for Macular Degeneration
Treatments for AMD depend on whether the disease is in its early stage, its dry form, or in the more advanced wet form.
There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for dry AMD and, once it reaches an advanced stage, no treatment can prevent vision loss. However, some studies have suggested that taking certain vitamins and minerals, such as lutein, zeazanthin and zinc, may slow the progression of the disease.
Wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery, photodynamic therapy (PDT) with or without injection of steroids into the eye, and drugs such as Lucentis, Eylea, Macugen and Visudyne that are painlessly injected into the eye in an attempt to stop abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina. Lucentis has been shown to improve vision in a significant number of people with macular degeneration. But AMD and vision loss may progress despite treatment.
For more information about macular degeneration treatment in Reading PA, contact Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania and our retinal specialists. We have four convenient locations in Wyomissing, Pottsville, Pottstown and Blandon.