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Eye Care Services from Your Winchester, MA Optometrist:  Macular Degeneration

A diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs every three minutes in the United States.  One of every four individuals 64 to 74 develop AMD, the leading cause of severe vision loss in those who have passed their 50th birthdays.  Our Winchester Optical optometrist is able to quickly diagnose AMD so that patients in the Winchester, Woburn, Medford, Arlington, Burlington, Reading, Stoneham, Lexington, and Melrose MA area can receive early therapeutic eye care.

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Overview of AMD

AMD affects the macula, the portion of the retina that provides central vision.  It is impossible to restore a damaged macula. 

Optometrists diagnose two kinds of AMD, the dry and the wet type.  While most AMD patients have the dry type, dry eventually advances to wet in some.  With dry AMD, a macula can no longer efficiently get rid of waste products.  This causes deterioration of rods and cones.  In wet AMD, blood vessels develop underneath the macula and can leak blood or other fluid.  Their development causes a breakdown of rods and cones.

This disorder might have few if any symptoms in its early stages.  Dry AMD patients often mention these symptoms:

  • Needing additional light for reading and other close activities
  • Seeing  blurred print
  • Perceiving colors as dimmed
  • Having hazy vision
  • Seeing a blurred area in the middle of the visual field that could progress in size and darkness

Wet AMD patients are likely to note these signs:

  • Formerly straight lines are now wavy
  • Objects appear farther away or smaller than they once did
  • A loss of central vision occurs
  • A blind spot suddenly appears

Healthcare experts have isolated no specific AMD cause.  Women face a greater risk than men do.  Other important factors are genetics, heart disease, high cholesterol, light eye color, smoking cigarettes, and excessive belly fat.

How Optometrists Diagnose and Treat AMD

AMD is not curable.  The goal of management is early detection and preservative eye care to slow progression.  Our doctor identifies at-risk individuals during a comprehensive exam.  Optometrists use several tests to make a diagnosis. 

In addition to viewing an Amsler grid, patients receive a visual acuity assessment.  Among the state-of-the art technology our practice uses are iCare tonometry to check eye pressure, multispectral retinal imaging, and fundus photography.  We also use macular pigment testing to identify AMD risk.

Implementing dietary changes and taking specific nutritional supplements slow AMD’s advance for many.  We can recommend assistive devices for AMD vision deficits.  Our opticians are experts at fitting patients with customized eyewear created on site as vision needs change.

Schedule an Exam with Our Winchester Optometrist

Our Winchester Optical practice has delivered exceptional eye care since 1958 to patients in the Winchester, Woburn, Medford, Arlington, Burlington, Reading, Stoneham, Lexington, and Melrose MA area.  We offer the latest in diagnostic technology, contact lenses, and glasses.  Call us today at (781) 729-4553 to schedule an appointment with our optometrist and enjoy personalized services for all your vision needs.

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