The eyeball is a hollow organ connected to the brain by the optic nerve. On entering the eye, the optic nerve spreads out in a thin layer of nervous tissue-the retina-and covers the inside of the eye like wallpaper.
For those with wet macular degeneration, the Food and Drug Administration has approved Visudyne®, a drug therapy for this form of the disease (also known as photodynamic therapy, PDT) and as recent as 2005, a treatment called Macugen. Macugen (pegaptanib sodium injection), is the first effective treatment that helps preserve vision for all subtypes of neovascular AMD. The neovascular “wet” form of macular degeneration is characterized by the invasion of new, poorly formed blood vessels beneath the retina. These new blood vessels are poorly formed and leak their contents into the retina and subretinal space, causing injury to the retina and scarring. Scientists are currently studying laser treatments for dry macular degeneration as well.
Deterioration of the macula results in blurry vision when a person looks directly at an object; peripheral or side vision is unaffected. Macular degeneration developing in one eye usually indicates that the other eye is also in danger of developing the disease. Regular examinations at home with the Amsler Grid are important to detect early changes in persons prone to macular degeneration. Instructions on proper use of the Amsler Grid are listed below. Patients who have macular degeneration may find performing visual tasks such as reading, writing, typing, sewing, etc., still possible with the use of magnification and strong, focused lighting.
Instructions on using the Amsler Grid:
- Wear your reading or bifocal glasses.
- Cover the opposite eye. Test each eye separately.
- Look at the center dot.
- Keep your vision on it at all times.
While looking directly at the center and only the center, be sure that all of the lines are straight and all the small squares are the same size.
If any area on the grid becomes distorted, blurred, discolored or otherwise abnormal, see one of our ophthalmologists immediately. At Southwestern Eye Center we offer specialized treatment for macular degeneration. Call 480-616-0467 to schedule an appointment with one of our ophthalmologists in one of our multiple locations throughout Arizona.
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