Age-related macular degeneration affects about 11 million Americans and is a leading cause of blindness. Benjamin Optical diagnoses and treats macular degeneration at their offices in Staten Island, Inwood, Brooklyn, and Harlem, New York. Routine eye exams are the best way to monitor your eyes for signs of macular degeneration. Call or schedule an appointment online today.
Macular degeneration is an umbrella term for a wide range of eye diseases that interfere with your central or detail vision. When most people talk about macular degeneration, they mean age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), a condition that damages the cells in your macula, the part of your retina that provides your central vision.
The two types of ARMD are wet and dry. Dry ARMD is the more common form of the disease. It occurs when the light-sensitive cells in your macula break down and decrease your central vision. It usually develops slowly.
Wet ARMD is less common but develops more aggressively. The condition occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under your retina and leak blood and other fluid. The extra fluids lift your macula and interfere with your retinal function.
The precise cause of ARMD isn’t fully understood. However, medical researchers have identified some risk factors of the disease, including a family history of the disease and your age. Your risk increases significantly after you reach 60. Other factors like smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity can also contribute to your risk of developing ARMD.
ARMD doesn’t cause any eye pain, and you might not experience any symptoms until your vision becomes blurry. You might also notice that your night vision decreases or you begin to struggle with reading, driving, and facial recognition. Colors might not look as bright as they once did and your overall vision can become hazy.
The best way to monitor your eye health for signs of ARMD is to have routine eye exams. The team at Benjamin Optical checks your visual acuity, which includes tests to identify areas of distorted vision. They also examine your retinas for signs of damage.
Your optometrist will dilate your pupils to get a clear look at the inner structures of your eyes. They use a slit lamp device, which is a type of microscope that allows them to study the internal structures of your eyes in magnified detail.
Treatment of ARMD depends on the type of disease and its severity. For example, Benjamin Optical can recommend:
Treatment of ARMD slows or stops the progression of the disease; it doesn’t reverse vision damage already done, which is why catching the disease in its early stages is so important.
If you’re concerned about ARMD or are due for an eye exam, call Benjamin Optical or schedule an appointment online today.