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Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is a condition that affects millions of elderly individuals. It specifically affects the macula, the small but important part of the retina that corresponds to the central part of your vision. Though it only makes up 3 percent of the retina, the macula is responsible for 60 percent of the brain’s capacity for vision. It gives us “useful” vision—the kind that allows us to read books, use the computer, drive and watch television. There are two types–dry or nonexudative ARMD (image on the left) and wet or exudative ARMD (image on the right).

armd-symptoms
armd-treatment

With age, yellow waste deposits called drusen can develop in the macula. A few may just be attributed to growing older, but more significant numbers may be indicative of early dry, or non-exudative, macular degeneration. The retina may become thin and eroded and atrophy can occur in severe cases. This can cause decreased or distorted vision. It can be monitored by daily use of an Amsler grid. After staring at the central dot, try to notice whether any of the straight lines are bent, wavy, or darkened out like the Amsler grid on the left.

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armd

Approximately 10 percent of dry macular degeneration patients will progress to wet, or exudative, macular degeneration. This occurs when disruption of the deep layers of the retina allows the blood vessels underneath to grow up towards the retina. These fragile vessels can bleed and cause a sudden loss of vision. Though more rare than the dry form, the wet form is much more devastating to the eye. Without treatment, a scar can form, leaving the patient with a dark spot in the vision. Urgent treatment may allow the eye to help resorb the blood before scarring occurs. If you notice any such symptoms, please let us know so you can be seen emergently.

Because patients with macular degeneration already have some baseline decreased contrast sensitivity, treating other conditions such as cataracts may help optimize the residual vision. Recently, a new procedure called the Implantable Miniature Telescope by VisionCare has just been FDA-approved. In some cases, this will allow patients with severe ARMD in both eyes an opportunity to improve their vision. Dr. Raja is the only physician here in Central Florida certified to do this procedure!

Approximately 10 percent of dry macular degeneration patients will progress to wet, or exudative, macular degeneration. This occurs when disruption of the deep layers of the retina allows the blood vessels underneath to grow up towards the retina. These fragile vessels can bleed and cause a sudden loss of vision. Though more rare than the dry form, the wet form is much more devastating to the eye. Without treatment, a scar can form, leaving the patient with a dark spot in the vision. Urgent treatment may allow the eye to help resorb the blood before scarring occurs. If you notice any such symptoms, please let us know so you can be seen emergently.

Because patients with macular degeneration already have some baseline decreased contrast sensitivity, treating other conditions such as cataracts may help optimize the residual vision.

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