Macular Degeneration Specialist in Sinking Spring, PA
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The likelihood of having macular degeneration increases with age, which is why the condition is referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The condition is common over age 60 and even more prevalent over age 75. The Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania team can help and if you’re in Sinking Spring PA, macular degeneration specialists are nearby in our Wyomissing office.
What is AMD?
When a person has AMD, the part of the eye called the macula becomes damaged over time. The macula is part of the retina and is crucial to a person’s central vision. Patients with AMD can see boundaries like a person’s hair, but central features like a person’s face and eyes are blurred due to the loss of central vision. AMD makes tasks like reading, driving and computer work quite difficult.
AMD does worsen over time, and while there is no cure, there are several treatment options aimed at preserving any remaining central vision. Our board-certified doctors use these treatments to slow the progression of the disease to preserve remaining vision. Our whole goal is to detect AMD as early as possible so we can provide early treatment. Eye exams are key. At the early stages, AMD often has no symptoms. People do notice some central vision loss, but often don’t give it a lot of thought.
When you come in for your initial office visit, our professional team will perform a comprehensive dilated eye exam, the only method of detecting AMD.
Our doctors provide several treatments, including several types of laser surgery to slow the disease progression. These treatments are outpatient procedures aimed at limiting or preventing further blood vessel growth in the region around the macula. The blood vessels are abnormal and leak into the area of the eye, so by preventing new vessel growth, we limit the leakage and thereby reduce or even prevent further vision loss.
We sometimes have to periodically repeat these procedures. Leakage can reoccur is some cases and often happens within two years. Sometimes we must use alternative treatments when the blood vessel size is too large for laser surgery to be effective.
We also use a therapy called anti-VEGF therapy which involves injections of a chemical that reduces vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance that the body naturally produces to generate new blood vessels. VEGF is unhealthy in a person with AMD, so the anti-VEGF therapy limits or prevents new blood vessel growth behind the retina.
What can I do for my eye health?
There is so much you can do to prevent AMD and protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Some research suggests a link between UV rays and cumulative eye damage that may increase risk of developing AMD. Take nutrients to bolster eye health; we recommend a multivitamin specifically formulated for the eye that includes vitamins C and E, as well as the important eye nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.
Annual eye exams are extremely important, particularly if you are over age 60 and have a family history (because there is a genetic link). The loss of central vision is the key characteristic of AMD. Over time, AMD does become more severe if left untreated, and this is particularly the case over age 75. If you suspect you have AMD, or wonder about it, our macular degeneration specialists are near Sinking Spring PA at the Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania Wyomissing office. We want to help you manage your condition, so give us a call today.
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