Benefits of Early Macular Degeneration Diagnosis
By Gordon Wong, OD on April 13, 2017
As with any other health condition, eye disorders and diseases are easiest to treat and control when they are diagnosed in their earliest stages. Macular degeneration, an eye disorder that commonly affects those aged 65 and over, is no exception to this rule. While there is no cure for macular degeneration, early detection may help to delay vision loss and preserve quality of life for those suffering from the condition.
At Gordon Wong Eye Designs & Optometry, we stress the benefits of early macular degeneration diagnosis to patients of our La Jolla, CA practice, especially those who are at heightened risk for the condition. We urge you to read the following article and, if any of the risk factors for or symptoms of macular degeneration apply to you, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at our practice today. Having a condition such as macular degeneration diagnosed in its earliest possible stages could extend your ability to see clearly by years.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is an eye diseased marked by a loss of central vision due to the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, called the macula. Most instances of macular degeneration are “dry,” in which there is no leakage of fluids, but progressive vision loss can still occur. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of cases are “wet,” in which abnormal blood vessels form under the macula and then leak fluid, potentially causing rapid and severe vision loss. Patients with wet macular degeneration will require immediate treatment.
Most patients do not experience vision loss in the early stages of dry macular degeneration, which is why early diagnosis of the condition is so important. If the disease is diagnosed during this early stage, vision loss may be postponed by years, if not for the rest of the patient’s life.
What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
As stated above, dry macular degeneration does not generally produce visual symptoms in its earliest stages, nor does it produce any pain or discomfort. Early symptoms of macular degeneration include:
- Difficulty adjusting to levels of low light, such as when entering a dimly lit room from a more well-lit room
- The need to have more light when reading or looking at objects up close
- Distorted vision, especially when straight lines appear wavy or bent
- Blurred near vision, especially when reading
- Colors appear less vivid
- Central vision is less sharp than it once was
Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration
If you are aged 65 or older, you should have your eyes checked at least annually for macular degeneration. If one or more of the following risk factors apply to you, you may want to have your eyes checked for macular degeneration as early as the age of 50:
- Macular degeneration runs in your family.
- You are Caucasian.
- You are a smoker or you live with someone who smokes.
- You are clinically obese.
- You are affected by cardiovascular disease.
Schedule Your Eye Exam Today
To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, please contact Gordon Wong Eye Designs & Optometry today.
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Dr. Wong and his staff have proven to be the best eye doctor that I have ever visited. He is extremely thorough and up-to-date professionally. He gives you plenty of time. I never feel rushed.Kathrine Holladay