Also known as AMD, this is an eye disease which usually presents in the later stages of life. The exact cause is largely unknown but aging is the most important risk factor.
More accurately, the macula, which is the part of your eye responsible for central vision, degrades over time and impacts our eyesight. It is a leading cause of vision problems in Canada, but early detection can work wonders for preserving your eyesight.
The macula is a small part of the retina, responsible for your sharp, central vision. It enables us to read text and view images in detail. Over time, the macula can deteriorate and cause a decrease in vision ranging from minor blurring to large missing areas of central vision..
There are two general categories of AMD: so-called “dry” and “wet” types.
Dry AMD constitutes 90% of cases. When the macula degrades, a small build-up of yellow protein (called drusen) can form under the light sensitive cells of the retina and put your retina at risk of vision loss.
Wet AMD is more severe, although it constitutes only 10% of AMD cases. Over time, the walls of tiny blood vessels feeding the retina weaken. These vessels can then leak small amounts of blood or other fluids into your eye, damaging the delicate light sensitive retina cells. This can cause a rapid and serious vision impairment, and any loss of sight due to wet AMD is more difficult to recover.
In the early stages of the disease, there are none. Only when the disease has progressed do symptoms emerge in the form of vision impairment. Straight lines can become fuzzy or distorted, and dark (or light) spots can appear, restricting your field of view.
AMD only affects your central vision, so your peripheral eyesight should be unhindered, meaning total blindness is very unlikely.
Currently, there is no cure for AMD, nor any way to reclaim vision which has been permanently lost to the disease. High-precision laser treatment and new technology drugs can be used to limit the damage caused by wet AMD by closing off leaking blood vessels, which can limit the damage to your eyesight.
We may also suggest dietary changes or supplements, as research has linked certain vitamins and minerals with a slowed progression of the disease.
The most effective way to diagnose AMD is to schedule an annual appointment with one of our doctors. Westmount Optometrists & Glencoe Optometrists has always lead from the front in our field, using the latest equipment to bring unparalleled eye care to London.
We use a Topcon Maestro OCT (optical coherence tomography) to examine the cells and structure of your eyes in exceptional detail. Combined with other imaging techniques which allow us to see your macula and retina with astounding clarity, our optometrists can spot macular degeneration in its earliest stages.
If your eyesight is already compromised to some degree, we will evaluate the extent of your vision loss and the AMD progression before advising you on the next steps, as appropriate.
585 Springbank Drive
London, ON, Canada
Phone: (519) 472-0210