Don’t just attribute your recent increased vision loss to the natural effects of old age. The truth is, it actually could be one of many retinal diseases that contribute to your impaired sight and may be more serious. February is Macular Degeneration Awareness Month and Nevada Eye Physicians is here to explain that while the disease itself is incurable, most symptoms are treatable. With seven locations across Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump, macular degeneration treatment from one of our board-certified ophthalmologists or optometrists is now more accessible than ever. So just what is macular degeneration? Simply put, macular degeneration is the deterioration of a small part of tissue at the back of your retina called the macula. The macula may be tiny in size, but it plays the biggest role in the overall clarity and quality of your central vision. Think of some everyday tasks you may take for granted like reading fine print, experiencing bright colors, or simply recognizing a friend’s face. The macula is the part of your eye that ultimately communicates these experiences with your brain. Without it at full strength, your central vision becomes weaker as well. This is called macular degeneration, and it evolves over time.
Treatments for Macular Degeneration
While there is no formal cure for this retinal disease, when caught early, there are treatments for it. Let’s start with the most basic ways to reduce your newly diagnosed vision loss and then progress to a few more advanced remedies Nevada Eye Physicians can deliver:
- Frequent eye exams – Early detection is paramount to easing any progressive frustration associated with the vision loss you are experiencing. By keeping your regularly scheduled exams with an optometrist or opthamalogist, your eye doctor will be able to properly diagnose your vision problems through a series of advanced tests designed specifically to detect macular degeneration as early as possible.
- Living healthy – Believe it or not, a healthy diet can play a key role in the fight against macular degeneration. Foods heavy in omega-3 fatty acids like fish such as salmon, sardines, and certain kinds of tuna can be a tremendous benefit to impede macular degeneration. Along with a healthy surplus of antioxidants to help your tissue to recover, adding these macular degeneration combatants to your diet can help slow the progression while also fighting other risk factors such as obesity or high blood pressure.
- Proactive protection – The macula is made up of very sensitive tissue, and potentially harmful blue and ultra-violet (UV) light can only exacerbate your deteriorating sight. While it may seem minor, actively wearing hats with broad brims and using sunglasses when possible will only help in your mission to protect your eyes from worsening.
- Helpful aids – However, there are instances when increased light is your friend. Reduce any unnecessary strain on your eyes with simple solutions like magnification, reading in a well-lit room, or avoiding driving at night whenever possible. If watching TV becomes difficult, perhaps invest in a larger screen. If your computer becomes more blurry, try increasing the pixelation or font size.
- Corrective lenses – Here’s where the experts at Nevada Eye Physicians can really begin to help in your fight against macular degeneration. Using optical coherence tomography (OCT), our doctors will use light to capture 3D images of the back of your retina to diagnose your condition as either wet or dry macular degeneration. Those with the most common dry form may be prescribed new corrective lenses to help reduce blind or foggy spots by magnifying their central vision. Bifocals and anti-reflective or tinted lenses are also popular options to treat macular degeneration in its earlier stages.
- Prescribed medications – The most common (and effective) method for treating advanced macular degeneration, normally considered the “wet” kind, is through the prescription of anti-VEGF medication. These macular degeneration treatments usually consist of a series of retina injections to help shrink abnormal blood vessels at the back of your eye. Common eye injections Nevada Eye Physicians utilize include Avastin, Lucentis, and EYLEA.
- Laser surgery – When properly diagnosed and a visible cause of your macular degeneration is pinpointed, modern advances in laser surgery may make laser surgery an additional option for your progressive vision loss. Ask your eye expert if it’s a possibility for your situation.
What is the right vision loss treatment for you?
Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness and can affect each of the 1.6 million-afflicted Americans differently. The right course of action for you to stop its progression? Visit with any one of the many retina experts at Nevada Eye Physicians to discuss what macular degeneration treatments will work best for you. To schedule your initial consultation and appropriate test, contact Nevada Eye Physicians at any of our locations in Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump, NV or make your appointment online today.