Macular Degeneration FAQs

Are you having difficulty seeing fine print, objects, or faces clearly? Macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is one of those conditions that could cause that. We understand that you may have questions about macular degeneration, and we at Chapel Hill Ophthalmology want to take the time to answer a few common questions about it. Take a look at the information below, and if you still have questions or concerns, our ophthalmologists in Chapel Hill are more than happy to answer them.

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What is Macular Degeneration?

In our eyes, we have a vital structure that is responsible for central vision. That is known as the macula, which is located in the retina, a light-sensitive tissue that receives light as it enters the eye. The macula helps us to identify colors, faces, and objects. The function of it is to detect light and convert it to signals for the optic nerve to send to the brain to process as images. Macular degeneration is when the macula deteriorates. Although it is a common problem in older people, macular degeneration can happen to anyone.

Symptoms of macular degeneration include some of the following:

  • The center of vision starts to become blurry or distorted, while peripheral vision remains clear.
  • A blurry spot develops and becomes larger and darker over time.
  • Straight lines start appearing wavy.
  • Reading and other activities are difficult to do.

These symptoms usually start slowly, but if they happen quickly, it is a medical emergency.

AMD goes through three different stages. Early AMD may not even be noticed by those who have it, so it is one of the reasons to have regular eye exams. If you have intermediate AMD, you will know you have an eye problem as symptoms become more apparent. For late AMD, you will have significant vision loss.

Are There Many Kinds? If So, Which Is The Most Common?

There are two major types of macular degeneration. The most common is dry AMD. This form makes up between 85 percent of cases. Yellow deposits of a fatty protein called drusen start to develop under the retina, slowly affecting and then killing photoreceptor cells around it.

The other kind is wet AMD, and it affects between 10 to 15 percent of people who have AMD. This type usually develops in people who already have dry AMD. New blood vessels start to grow and may leak blood, causing a rapid change in the macula.

A rarer type is called Stargardt disease. This disease is an inherited form of macular degeneration that runs in families.

Do Older People Always Get Macular Degeneration?

No. Older people do not always get macular degeneration; however, over six million Americans suffer from AMD.

Can Macular Degeneration Be Stopped Or Cured?

There are some treatments available for AMD. After an eye exam and determining you have this disease, our ophthalmologists in Chapel Hill can advise you on what is the best treatment for you.

Eye Exams Help!

If you have regular eye exams with our ophthalmologists in Chapel Hill, we can help you avoid getting late-stage AMD, or at least help slow down the process. We can also help you with other eye issues like nearsightedness, farsightedness, cataracts, glaucoma, and cornea issues. You and your family can see us for all of your vision needs. Call Chapel Hill Ophthalmology at 919-942-8701 to make an appointment.

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