Q: I am hearing more about macular degeneration lately and how it can wreck your central vision, what can I do to prevent this as I get older
A: You are right to be concerned because as of today we still have no real solution to repair or correct the damage from macular degeneration ( often called AMD ). However early detection of the beginning stages, along with preventive treatments can slow or prevent damage for many patients.
First, we now have a simple in-office genetic test to tell you your risk of “wet” AMD ( the leaking progressive form ) in the coming 10 years. This test also will indicate which supplements may help or hurt your eyes.
Second, we now know that the earliest damage to the retina occurs deep in the then layers of our nerve layers in the back of the eye. This means that our “dark adaptation” can indicate if our deepest layer of vision receptors….the “rods”, not “cones”, is being damaged. This early warning test is simple and non-invasive, and studies say this may warn of damage up to 4 years before patients experience vision impairment in normal life. We have never had such a good early warning technology till now, and this extra lead time can be put to good use with preventive treatments…before the patient has lost even one line on the eye chart!
Third, preventive steps include wearing full spectrum UVA and UVB blocking sunglasses when outdoors. Personally, I prescribe polarized lenses for this protection as they block out the harmful radiation directly, and the blinding glare from reflected light on the highway or water. We also recommend certain nutriceuticals for the eye in some cases. Anti-inflammatory carotenoids are chemicals found in green leafy vegetables, but more easily ingested in a daily pill form.
Lastly, retinal scans and retinal performance measurements can help us monitor for progression of AMD, and if needed, to begin injections inside the eye to slow the damage. The really great news is that today we can identify AMD very early in the first eye….unlike ten years ago, when we often only diagnosed AMD after the patient had already lost some vision in one eye……making our goal to save your second eye.
Protect your sight: be proactive.
Call Morgantown Eye Associates on 304-381-5353 to schedule an eye exam with our Morgantown optometrist.
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Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :