Macular Degeneration Specialist

Paragon Eye Associates -  - Ophthalmologist

Paragon Eye Associates

Ophthalmologists & Optometrists located in Arlington, TX & Mansfield, TX

Patients suspecting they may have macular degeneration should see the highly qualified team of doctors at Ford Eye Center in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas. Early diagnosis and treatment are key for patients suffering from this disease of the macula, impacting central vision.

Macular Degeneration Q & A

What’s macular degeneration?

In macular degeneration, the macula (a structure in the back, center of the eye responsible for central vision) breaks down, causing a loss of central vision.

What are the signs and symptoms of macular degeneration?

Patients suffering from macular degeneration may experience these common symptoms:

  • Straight lines don’t appear straight; they may appear distorted or wavy
  • Vision is blurry or fuzzy
  • There's a dark area in the patient’s central vision

What causes this disease?

In the vast majority of cases, macular degeneration is caused by age and referred to as AMD (age-related macular edema). In some cases, it can be caused by the use of certain medications including Thorazine, Mellaril, Trilafon, Prolixin, Stelazine, or Aralen.

Which risk factors contribute to macular degeneration?

Those at highest risk of developing macular degeneration include patients who:

  • Are over 65 years old
  • Smoke or have smoked
  • Are Caucasian
  • Have a family history of macular degeneration
  • Have taken any of the medications listed above

How can it be prevented?

There's no known sure way to prevent macular degeneration, but the following measures might help:

  • Protect the eyes from ultraviolet light with adequate sunglasses
  • Choose a diet rich in antioxidants, lutein, fatty acids, zinc, and zeaxanthin
  • Never smoke or quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly

These measures promote overall macular health.

What’s the difference between wet and dry macular degeneration?

The vast majority of patients suffering from wet AMD, which simply results from the aging of the macula. About 10% of patients with macular degeneration suffer from dry AMD, which is characterized by the growth of new blood vessels in the eye. These blood vessels leak fluid that damages the macula.

How’s macular degeneration treated?

In most cases, macular degeneration is treated by injecting medication into the eye at regular periodic intervals (every 4-8 weeks in most cases). While many patients experience anxiety before their first administration, it's important to know that numbing drops are used to diminish sensation during the injection. The medication works to prevent the growth of new abnormal vessels inside the eye, which in turn prevents the damage these vessels cause to the retina. In many cases, patients report not only no progression but improved vision. Also, wet AMD is sometimes treated with a laser procedure called photocoagulation.