What Is Macular Degeneration?

As you age, the macula, or central portion of your retina — the part that’s most sensitive to light — can begin to deteriorate. If this happens, your macula no longer functions optimally to record and send images to your brain through the optic nerve. Since the macula controls the central focus of your vision, if it deteriorates, you may have difficulty in any of the following capacities:

  • Focusing on a computer monitors or televisions
  • Driving a vehicle
  • Interpreting colors and/or shapes
  • Identifying fine details in people’s faces
Macular degeneration usually develops gradually over time and affects both eyes. You may not even realize there’s a problem until you have trouble reading a menu in a dimly lit restaurant, or you can’t focus as well when you look at your friends’ or family members’ faces.

Who Is at Risk for Developing Macular Degeneration?

Age is a major risk for macular degeneration, so if you’re over 60 years old, you’re most likely to develop the disease. But, age alone isn’t the only risk factor. Other contributors to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to consider include:

  • Smoking doubles your risk of developing macular degeneration
  • Being Caucasian increases your risk
  • Having a family history of macular degeneration
  • Being overweight
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having light-colored eyes
  • Eating a diet high in saturated fats
Environmental factors may also play a role in whether or not you develop AMD later in life.

What Treatments Are Effective for Macular Degeneration?

There are two types of macular degeneration — dry AMD and wet AMD — and the team at Associated Eye Physicians offers state-of-the-art treatment.

Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease, with about 80% of adults who have AMD experiencing this type. Your macula thins out with age, and you develop tiny clumps of protein on your retina. hile there is no cure for dry AMD, Dr. Bertolucci and the team help you take steps to minimize vision loss and slow the progression of the disease through lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthier diet and quitting smoking.

For wet AMD, the team at Associated Eye Physicians offers intravitreal injections to prevent the growth of new blood vessels that leak blood and fluid into your eye — a major characteristic of wet AMD.