Macular Degeneration

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a disease affecting the macula, which is the central part of the retina at the back of the eye. There is a genetic basis for macular degeneration, and it occurs mainly in older patients.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration and how is it diagnosed?

Early symptoms are decreased vision at a distance and at near, which cannot be corrected with spectacles. Later the disease causes loss of central vision. Distortion of straight lines may occur. There are many causes for decreased vision – your eye specialist will determine if it is caused by macular degeneration or other causes. An OCT scan will be done to determine macular degeneration and the severity thereof.

Can macular degeneration be treated?

Yes. There are mainly two types of Macular Degeneration:

  • “Dry” or Atrophic Macular Degeneration, and
  • “Wet” or Exudative Macular Degeneration.

The dry form causes gradual loss of central vision, but the wet form may suddenly cause distortion followed by severe loss of vision.

A Healthy Macula

Macular Degeneration

Today there are various modalities available to treat macular degeneration. Tablets specifically formulated to treat the dry form of macular degeneration, or to prevent the development of the wet form are available. The wet form can now successfully be treated with modern drugs such as Avastin and Lucentis. Surgery can also be performed for advanced disease.

If you have macular degeneration, it is essential to monitor your vision for deterioration or distortion and consult with your eye specialist. If diagnosed early, new treatment options can prevent permanent loss of vision.

What is an OCT scan?

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging method that uses reflected light to create pictures of the back of your eye. It can be used to diagnose and manage diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetes-related retinopathy, and glaucoma.

An example of an OCT scan.


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