Macular Degeneration

Bentz Eye Center

Ophthalmology & Cataract Surgeons located in West Palm Beach, FL

If you’re suddenly noticing blurry vision, especially in the center of your sight, you may have macular degeneration. At Bentz Eye Center, Robert Bentz, DO, Miriam Farag, OD, FAAO, and the experienced optometry team can diagnose and treat macular degeneration to slow its progression. If you want to learn more about this chronic condition, call the office in West Palm Beach, Florida today, or go online to schedule your initial consultation.

Macular Degeneration Q & A

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration is a debilitating disease affecting the macula, the area in the eye responsible for central vision. There are two forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet. 

Dry macular degeneration accounts for nearly 80% of cases, and it commonly develops with age. Portions of the macular get thinner over time, and clumps of protein, called drusen, develop and block central vision. In wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and scar the macula.

Age-related macular degeneration causes various symptoms that appear gradually. Typically, symptoms occur in both eyes, but they can affect just one. Common symptoms include:

  • Visual distortions
  • Blurry central vision
  • Difficulty seeing in low light
  • Trouble recognizing faces
  • Need for bright light
  • Decrease in colors

Although most people with macular degeneration don’t go completely blind, they may struggle with activities like reading and driving.

What causes macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration results when the macula, the part of your retina responsible for your central vision, thins. The causes of this degeneration are unknown, but there appear to be both environmental and hereditary factors.

As the eye ages, the macula thins as its cells deteriorate. Specific risk factors have been identified, including smoking and obesity. Those with cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure may also have an increased risk.

How is macular degeneration diagnosed?

The team at Bentz Eye Center assesses your risk of developing macular degeneration with a simple, non-invasive test called a pigment density test. The information from this test helps Dr. Bentz and Dr. Farag assess your risk and determine whether you need supplemental intervention to increase the level of macular pigmentation. 

The doctors may also use distance acuity tests and a dilated eye exam to help assess macular degeneration. Dilation allows the team to see through the pupil and observe the macula inside your eye. 

The Amsler grid is a macular degeneration test you can do at home. Look at the dot in the center of the Amsler grid with one eye closed, and then the other. Notice if the lines appear bent or wavy. If lines are uneven, it could be a sign of macular degeneration.

How is macular degeneration treated?

Although there are no medical treatments for the beginning stages of macular degeneration, lifestyle changes can improve your outlook, and special vitamin supplements that target macular health may also help.

Additionally, the team at Bentz Eye Center recommends eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking. Although these lifestyle habits can’t reverse macula damage, they can slow the condition’s progression.

If you’re at risk for macular degeneration, or if you have any symptoms, call Bentz Eye Center or schedule your appointment online.