Macular Degeneration

What Is the Macula?

The macula is a very important piece of your ocular anatomy. It is responsible for your central vision, the part of your vision that lets you do close-up work like sewing and reading. Without clear central vision, you would have a difficult time driving a car or recognizing the faces of your friends and family.

Located at the back of the eye, in the center of the retina, the macula is made up of photoreceptor cells. Light enters the eye and is focused on the retina by the cornea and lens, and then the photoreceptor cells in the macula receive that light. The macula’s photoreceptor cells transmit the light into signals and send those through the optic nerve to the brain, which turns them into an image.We assess the health of your macula during your comprehensive eye exam. Book yours today.

Macular Degeneration Causes Vision Loss

Macular degeneration is commonly known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) because it most commonly impacts older adults.

There are 2 main types of AMD—dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common type. It is a progressive condition that occurs in phases. The macula thins due to age, often showing no symptoms in the early stages and then continues to deteriorate until significant vision loss occurs.

Wet AMD is less common, but leads to faster vision loss. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina, leaking blood or fluid into the macula and causing it to swell. Dry AMD can progress into wet AMD quickly.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

As with many sight-threatening eye diseases, there may not be symptoms in the early stages of macular degeneration. This is why eye exams are so important on a regular basis—we can assess the internal structures of your eyes and detect signs of this condition that may not be noticeable to you yet.

When symptoms do present themselves, you may notice:

  • Difficulty seeing in low light conditions

  • Blurriness in your central vision

  • Straight lines that look wavy or crooked

  • Muted colors that are not as vivid

Diagnosing Your Dark Adaptation

Poor night vision is an early common symptom of macular degeneration.

We use the AdaptDx technology to measure your Rod Intercept and evaluate your dark adaptation. The Rod Intercept measurement determines how quickly your eyes regain sensitivity to the dark after bright light exposure.

The moment it becomes difficult to see in low light, you should book an eye exam for a thorough assessment.

Lower Your Risk

It is possible to lower your risk for AMD. Smoking cessation, regular physical activity, and a healthy diet can help to preserve your sight. We also offer our own private label vitamins to support macular health. Please book an appointment with Dr. Jeannine Fowler today.