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20/Happy in 2020 Blog Series: Macular Degeneration

One more reason to schedule your annual eye exam: Macular degeneration.

The inside layer of the back of the eye is called the retina. The retina is like the film of a camera. The central 10% of the retina is called the macula. The macula is responsible for sharp, central vision required for “straight ahead” vision activities, such as driving, reading, recognizing faces, and performing close up work.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a deterioration or breakdown of the macula and is one of the most common causes of poor vision in people over age 60. The visual symptoms of AMD involve the loss of central vision (reading, recognizing faces, etc.), while peripheral vision is unaffected. While age is the most significant risk factor for developing AMD, heredity, blue eyes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and smoking have also been identified as risk factors.

While AMD is one disease, it may be categorized into two forms: dry and wet.

Screening and monitoring your vision for Macular Degeneration is key in early detection to protect your vision against future vision loss. Our doctors offer the optomap® as an important part of our eye exams. The first time a new patient is seen in the office, our doctors dilate as normal, establishing a baseline. Following this initial dilated exam, a welcome benefit to our patients is that that a routine exam can be performed without dilation, if there are no additional findings to suggest otherwise. The image produced is unique and provides Drs. Del Negro, Senft, Glatman, Shah, Wiedeman, and Carniglia with a high-resolution 200° image in order to ascertain the health of your retina. This is much wider than a traditional 45° image. It’s an excellent retina screening tool.

The inclusion of optomap as part of a comprehensive eye exam provides:
  • A scan to show a healthy eye or detect disease.
  • A view of the retina, giving your doctor a more comprehensive view than they can get by other means.
  • The opportunity to view and discuss the optomap image of your eye with your doctor at the time of your exam.
  • Creates a baseline, which allows our doctors to view your images with you each year to look for changes.
In addition to the Optos, another screening tool, known as the Spectralis, uses an advanced eye tracking system that produces 3D images of the eye, allowing our doctors to more easily identify change over time. This helps reveal eye disease which may not yet be noticeable by the patient or detectable with a traditional visual exam. The Spectralis not only aids in the detection of such diseases as glaucoma and macular degeneration, it also provides essential information for monitoring these sight-stealing diseases in follow-up examinations.

Similar to the Optos, the Spectralis exam is fast, safe, and usually does not require dilating the eye. While a patient comfortably sits in a stationary position, the eye is scanned in a few seconds, providing unique views of the structure and function of the eye.

Your physician will review findings with you in real-time and let you know what treatment options you are a candidate for based upon your diagnosis. Keep your retina in check – this year make it a point to schedule your annual exam so you can continue doing all the activities you’ve come to know and love for years to come. New year, new vision.

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