Macular Degeneration in Vineland
ARMD, age related macular degeneration, is a degenerative condition associated to varying degrees of central vision loss. Many people with ARMD show no visual symptoms and may retain 20/20 vision but those in advanced stages of this disease may be unable to read, drive or recognize faces. Despite causing central vision loss and being one of the leading causes of legal blindness in Americans over age 60, ARMD does not generally lead to complete blindness.
ARMD presents in two forms: a “dry” form and a “wet” form. The dry, early form is the most common form and in most cases there is little to no vision loss although some exceptions occur. The wet form of ARMD, less common and affecting only about 10% of those with the disease, occurs late in the disease process. It is responsible for most of the central vision loss from ARMD. In order to treat age-related macular degeneration the doctors of the Eye Institute of South Jersey, PC, Dr. David R. Pernelli, MD and Dr. Terrance K. Heacox, Jr., OD must first identify what form of the disease you have.
Forms of ARMD
- Atrophic (Dry ARMD): occurs in 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration. Waste accumulates under the retina and the macula slowly thins over a number of years.
- Exudative (Wet ARMD): less common, this may lead to a distortion or blind spot in your central vision. This can be the result of a growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina leaking blood and/or fluid.
Risk Factors for ARMD
Risk factors for age related macular degeneration (ARMD) can include:
- Family history of the disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- UV light exposure
- Tobacco use
- Blue eyes
- Poor nutrition
Treatment for ARMD
There is currently no treatment to halt the progression of ARMD or to recover any vision loss from dry ARMD but the results of two Age Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS I and AREDS II) demonstrate that using specific formulations of antioxidant vitamins and minerals can reduce the risk of progression of dry ARMD to more advanced stages and potential vision loss. Both formulations are shown to be beneficial but only one should be used. Dr. Pernelli and Dr. Heacox can help you decide which is best for you.
No cure exists for wet ARMD, but with the availability of more effective treatment regimens in just the last few years patients have improved prognoses.
- Intravitreal injections: drugs such as Lucentis®, Avastin®, Eyelea and Kenalog or Macugen are currently the primary anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) treatments.
- Laser surgery: when there is not blood vessel growth directly beneath the center of the macula, laser surgery can be utilized to help prevent further loss of vision.
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT): this procedure can be used to treat those patients with blood vessels growing directly under the center of the macula.
All ARMD patients can benefit from:
- Smoking cessation: the use of tobacco products has been associated with vision loss and more advanced forms of ARMD.
- Control blood pressure: High blood pressure is associated with more advanced ARMD.
- Omega 3 rich foods: a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids are shown to be associated with less advanced ARMD
- Colorful fruits and vegetables: Consuming colorful fruits and vegetables have been associated with lower rates of the progression of ARMD
- Physical Activity: people who are physically active may reduce their risk for progression to advanced ARMD.
- Low vision aids: magnifiers and special reading devices can enhance the vision of those suffering with ARMD.
If you are experiencing any vision changes or start noticing the symptoms of macular degeneration, contact us today to request an eye exam. Early detection and treatment of retinal problems is vital to preserving your eye health.