More than 58,000 people in North Carolina have age-related macular degeneration, which is about 1.93 percent of the population. This means macular degeneration in Wilmington and Charlotte NC may be quite common.
Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the eyes in ways that eventually cause vision loss. More specifically, macular degeneration affects a small area of the retina, known as the macula. The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. Light enters the eye and strikes the retina, which converts visual information about the world into electrical impulses; the brain converts these impulses into what we see. The macula is a small spot in the center of the retina – it is responsible for sharp, clear, straight-ahead vision and fine detail.
Macular degeneration happens when the macula breaks down, or degenerates. The breakdown of the macula prevents it from absorbing light, and therefore prevents you from seeing close-up items with fine detail.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that typically develops in older adults. In fact, the condition is the primary cause of reading and fine or close-up vision impairment in people ages 65 and older.
There are two types of macular degeneration:
Wet macular degeneration – occurs when leaky blood vessels grow beneath the retina
Dry macular degeneration – results from thinning of the macula
Treatment for Macular Degeneration in Wilmington and Charlotte NC
Macular degeneration is a progressive disease, which means it worsens over time. Scientists have not yet developed a cure for dry macular degeneration, but treatment can slow its progression. Anti-VEGF treatment can help treat wet macular degeneration. Advances in technology are helping to improve vision in people with macular degeneration. In many cases, specially designed eyeglasses can help people with macular degeneration see more clearly.
For more information on macular degeneration, contact your Wilmington and Charlotte NC eye doctor, Dr. Edward Paul, OD, PhD.