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Macular Degeneration Specialist

Riverfront Eyecare

Optometrists located in Flint, MI & Saginaw, MI

As many as 11 million American adults have macular degeneration. At Riverfront Eyecare in Flint and Saginaw, Michigan, the experienced optometrists can identify the early eye changes consistent with macular degeneration during a comprehensive eye exam. Then, they can help you slow disease progression or treat the disease. To learn more, call either office or book your appointment online.

Macular Degeneration Q&A

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is an eye disease in which a part of your retina, the macula, starts wearing down. Although a mere five millimeters across, your macula is the sole source of your central (straight ahead) vision. 

When you have macular degeneration, your central vision significantly deteriorates. Macular degeneration is one of the most common causes of blindness worldwide.

Most cases of macular degeneration occur due to changes within your eyes as you age. There are two primary forms of macular degeneration:

Dry macular degeneration

Around 90% of all macular degeneration cases are dry macular degeneration. This form of macular degeneration is very gradual, often taking many years to progress to obvious vision loss. 

Wet macular degeneration

Wet macular degeneration is a severe form of the disease in which neovascularization, new abnormal blood vessel development beneath your retina, occurs. These fragile blood vessels break open and leak blood and fluid to cause rapid vision deterioration.

Wet macular degeneration sufferers always have dry macular degeneration first, but only a small portion of dry macular degeneration sufferers develop the wet form of the disease. 

Am I at risk for macular degeneration?

Aging is the main risk factor for macular degeneration. It's most common in adults over 50. Other risk factors can include:

  • Family history - certain genes increase your risk of the disease
  • Race - the disease is most common in Caucasians
  • Obesity - excess weight increases risk of the disease turning into the wet type
  • Cigarette smoking 
  • Cardiovascular disease

Other factors, like excessive sun exposure, may also increase your risk for macular degeneration. 

How do you diagnose macular degeneration?

Riverfront Eyecare includes macular degeneration screenings in regular comprehensive eye exams. Visual acuity tests and other vision tests may indicate changes like visual blank spots that indicate possible macular degeneration.

If your optometrist suspects macular degeneration, they can perform tests, including fundoscopy, a lighted, magnified exam of your retina and optic nerve. Your eye doctor may also take images (fundus photography). The Amsler grid, a graph test, is another way to diagnose or confirm the diagnosis of macular degeneration.

How do you treat macular degeneration?

There's no treatment for dry macular degeneration at this time. But, a blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin may help slow disease progression. 

Certain foods that support eye health, including leafy greens, fish, yellow fruits, orange fruits, and whole grains, may also help. Your optometrist can monitor the disease and help you maintain good eye health to ensure the slowest possible disease progression. 

If you have wet macular degeneration, your Riverfront Eyecare optometrist may recommend laser treatments or intravitreal (inside your eye) medication injections (anti-vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF) through a trusted local ophthalmologist. 

Get early diagnosis and effective macular degeneration care now by calling Riverfront Eyecare or booking an appointment online.