Macular Degeneration

Southern Eye Institute

Board-Certified Ophthalmologists & Board Certified Optometrist located in Houma, LA & Thibodaux, LA

Macular degeneration is the number one cause of vision loss for Americans over the age of 60. It’s a painless condition that causes dark or blank spots to develop in the center of your visual field. If you or a loved one has macular degeneration, the team at Southern Eye Institute can help. At their offices in Houma and Thibodaux, Louisiana, the board-certified team of ophthalmologists offers the best care for people with macular degeneration. Book an appointment by phone, or use the online booking tool today.

Macular Degeneration Q & A

What is macular degeneration?

The macula is the center of the retina. It focuses on what you’re looking at directly, called central vision, and sends signals to your brain. Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula. Macular degeneration causes loss of central vision, making it difficult to see faces, drive, and read.

There are two main types of macular degeneration: wet and dry. Wet macular degeneration is caused by abnormal blood vessel growth underneath the macula. The abnormal blood vessels leak fluid into the retina and distort vision. The blood vessels and leakage can scar, causing permanent central vision loss.

Dry macular degeneration occurs when drusen collect in the macula. Drusen is a yellowish deposit that can grow and dim vision over time. With dry macular degeneration, cells in the macula die over time and cause blind spots in central vision. Dry macular degeneration is the most common type, but it can lead to the onset of wet macular degeneration. 

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

There are three main stages of macular degeneration. In the early stage, there aren’t often noticeable symptoms or significant vision loss. Early-stage macular degeneration is diagnosed if you have medium-sized drusen. 

Intermediate macular degeneration may include some vision loss, including blank spots or holes in the center of your visual field. With intermediate macular degeneration, you’ll have larger drusen and/or pigment changes in your retina.

Late-stage macular degeneration is characterized by vision loss. Vision loss can appear as dark or blurry spots in your central vision, or you may notice difficulty reading the fine print and lower vision.

Am I at risk for macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration most often affects older adults. In addition to age, there are some other factors that may indicate you’re more likely to develop macular degeneration.

The most common risk factors for macular degeneration are:

  • Aging
  • Family history of macular degeneration
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

If you’re at risk for macular degeneration, you should get eye examinations regularly to prevent significant vision loss over time.

How is macular degeneration treated?

Macular degeneration doesn’t have a cure, and vision lost to macular degeneration can’t be recovered. However, there are treatments to prevent severe vision loss by slowing disease progression.

Early diagnosis of macular degeneration helps keep you from suffering significant vision loss. Laser therapy is an option to treat macular degeneration. It works by destroying abnormal blood vessels to stop further loss. 

Prescription medications, like anti-angiogenesis drugs, stop new abnormal blood vessels from developing and prevent abnormal vessels from leaking. You may need this treatment periodically to manage macular degeneration.

Southern Eye Institute can expertly diagnose macular degeneration and slow down the disease’s progression, giving you more time with better vision. To learn more about macular degeneration care at Southern Eye Institute, call the office, or request an appointment online.