Can Macular Degeneration be Reversed?  

Macular degeneration is one of the leading reasons why people lose their vision in the entire world. In the U.S. alone, around 11 million people suffer from some degree of macular degeneration, and that number is expected to rise to over 22 million by the year 2050. In adults, macular degeneration is the single most common cause of the loss of eyesight in individuals over the age of 60, when it’s referred to as age-related macular degeneration. If you or a loved one has already been diagnosed with macular degeneration in Jacksonville, FL, you may be wondering if there is any way this condition can be reversed.

What is the Macula?

To understand the seriousness of macular degeneration, it’s helpful to know just a little about the anatomy of the eye. The retina is a very thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. This tissue contains photoreceptor cells known as rods and cones. The macula is the part of the retina that is near the center, and its purpose is to focus incoming light so that you have sharp, clear vision. The macula has a very high concentration of photoreceptor cells that detect light. When the macula is damaged, as happens with macular degeneration, vision is distorted.

Macular Degeneration Cannot be Reversed

The bad news is, the damage from macular degeneration cannot be reversed. The macula is not replaceable, so whatever damage is done to it, cannot be fixed. While this may change as new technologies emerge, at this time, it’s best to get macular degeneration diagnosed as soon as possible so that further damage can be avoided.

How Macular Degeneration is Diagnosed

The best way to detect early onset macular degeneration is through eye exams. During an eye exam, your optometrist uses equipment to detect the presence of eye problems, including macular degeneration. If issues exist, steps can be taken to slow or halt the progression.

Your optometrist in Jacksonville, FL cannot stress enough the importance of twice-yearly eye exams to detect macular degeneration and more. Contact us today to book your next eye exam.



What You Need to Know About Managing Macular Degeneration  

The macula sits in the center of the eye’s retina at the back of the eye and sends nerve impulses to the brain to form a visual image. Under normal conditions, the macula takes in detailed information from the middle of the visual field. Some of the specific functions made possible by the macula in each eye include:

  • Driving a car
  • Discriminating contrast and colors
  • Noticing fine details
  • Reading
  • Recognizing people’s faces

When someone has macular degeneration, their brain doesn’t interpret the images they see correctly. Blurred vision and partial or complete loss of central vision are the risks of allowing the condition to progress untreated.

Although peripheral vision remains unaffected with macular degeneration, it’s less clear than central vision. People who have suffered complete loss of central vision meet the definition of legal blindness. Stam & Associates offers macular degeneration exams in Jacksonville, FL to help patients understand and manage their risk factors.

Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration

Ophthalmologists divide macular degeneration into two types; wet and dry. Only 10 to 15 percent of patients have the wet type, while 85 to 90 percent have the dry type. The term wet macular degeneration describes the effect of new blood vessels growing behind the retina. The blood vessels prevent normal positioning of the macula and initially cause blurry vision that can quickly progress to central vision loss.

Dry macular degeneration progresses slower and causes distorted and fuzzy images. Changes are often too minor for people to notice, but they can become more pronounced over time and lead to wet macular degeneration.

Regular visual screening is the best way to detect and halt the progression of this potentially devastating eye disease. Please schedule a macular degeneration exam in Jacksonville, FL to determine whether you have any symptoms and learn more about halting the progression of this condition.