Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam, pediatric eye exam and contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you? Our Delaware eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.
During the very early stages of many eye diseases, most people never notice a problem. For example, when age-related macular degeneration (AMD) first appears, blind spots can develop that people don’t see because their brain is compensating. But while the individual with AMD may not be aware of the disease, an eye doctor will detect it during a comprehensive eye exam. That’s why the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) strongly recommends people over age 40 to protect themselves from vision loss by visiting an eye clinic regularly for dilated eye exams.
How common is age-related macular degeneration?
Estimates report that more than 2 million Americans live with the most progressive forms of AMD, and this number is expected to rise to 4.4 million people by 2050. Age-related macular degeneration is the top cause of blindness among white Americans who are older than 40, and it’s one of the most common reasons for permanent vision loss in the world.
What is AMD?
This eye disease occurs when your macula, a part of the retina, is damaged. The macula is responsible for giving you a crisp, clear vision in the center of your field of view. A loss of central vision has far-reaching effects on your life, hampering your ability to read, drive, and see faces.
How often do I need to visit an eye care professional?
According to the AAO, adults with no signs or risk factors for ocular disease are advised to start with regular eye exams from age 40. Then, until age 54, guidelines recommend visiting an eye clinic every two to four years; between age 55-64, you should see your eye doctor every one to three years. By the time you are 65, annual eye exams are encouraged – even if you don’t experience any visual or eye symptoms. Of course, if you have additional risk factors for eye disease, your eye doctor may instruct you to visit more frequently.
Can vision loss from AMD be prevented?
Nowadays, eye doctors have even more technologies to diagnose age-related macular degeneration as early as possible – as long as you are vigilant about visiting your eye clinic for eye exams! Why are all these eye exams so important? Because the earlier AMD is detected and treated; the more effective treatment can be.
Possible treatments to help prevent vision loss from age-related macular degeneration include:
- Injections of drugs to stop new blood vessels from forming and to block leaking from unhealthy blood vessels (symptoms characteristic of wet AMD)
- Laser therapy to destroy abnormal blood vessels that are actively growing
- Photodynamic laser therapy that causes damage to abnormal blood vessels
- Taking vitamins as eye health supplements
Don’t let your brain fool you into thinking your vision is fine! Instead, let an eye doctor make that decision. In the year 2020, you couldn’t pick a better time to focus on your eyes. Contact an eye care center near you to book an eye exam today.