How Long Does It Take For Macular Degeneration To Progress?
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Do you know someone with macular degeneration? Are you concerned about your own outlook for developing the disease? You might be asking yourself questions like, “How long does it take for macular degeneration to progress?” There are generally three phases of the disease. Let’s learn more.
Early Macular Degeneration
In the early stages, many people experience no vision issues. The disease is related to aging, which is why it is called age-related macular degeneration or AMD. There are two forms of AMD, wet and dry. The wet form is a sudden-onset AMD and is quite rare. Dry AMD is far more common. Eye tissues become damaged and accumulations of deposits called drusen begin to form under the retina. The drusen interfere with optic nerve communication, thus disrupting vision.
Most people begin experiencing some central vision difficulty when the macular degeneration enters into the intermediate stage. Drusen become more plentiful, but you still might not have symptoms. During this stage, some patients begin seeing a hole or black spot in the central vision. You may also begin to notice that it is difficult for your eyes to adjust from a brightly lit location to a dim location, like walking from an outdoor area on a sunny day into a darkened hallway. These are signs of AMD disease progression.
In late-stage macular degeneration, many drusen significantly impair vision. You will likely have a large fuzzy spot in the center of your vision. People struggle to see faces and facial expressions, and may struggle with reading or using a computer. In the late stages, our surgeons at Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania’s Macular Eye Center will likely begin discussing surgery options with you. While macular degeneration surgery is not right for every person, it might be a good plan for you.
Treatment options do vary depending on the form and the severity of your AMD. The dry form has no cure, but we can take steps to slow the progression. We can treat wet AMD, and we offer several treatment options, including steroids, laser surgery and photodynamic therapy (PDT).
The Importance of Eye Exams
How long does it take for macular degeneration to progress? It can take an entire decade for it to progress from the early to the late stage. You will not be able to spot drusen on your own but will need an eye doctor’s expertise and equipment to do so. Your doctor may spot drusen in a routine eye exam, and also may request that you come in for more frequent eye exams. This way, our expert team at Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania can look for changes that are indicators of how the disease is progressing.
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