Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. It causes damage to the macula: the part of the eye responsible for sharp and central vision.

In some people, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for a long time. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. As AMD progresses, a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision. Objects also may not appear to be as bright as they used to be.

Age is a major risk factor for AMD. The disease is most likely to occur after age 60, but it can occur earlier. Other risk factors for AMD include:

  • Smoking: research shows that smoking doubles the risk of AMD
  • Race: AMD is more common among Caucasians than among African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos
  • Family history: people with a family history of AMD are at higher risk

How is AMD detected?

Visual acuity test. This eye chart measures how well you see at distances.

  • Dilated eye exam: your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to widen or dilate the pupils. This provides a better view of the back of your eye. Using a special magnifying lens, he or she then looks at your retina and optic nerve for signs of AMD and other eye problems.
  • Amsler grid: your eye care professional also may ask you to look at an Amsler grid. Changes in your central vision may cause the lines in the grid to disappear or appear wavy, a sign of AMD.
  • Optical coherence tomography: similar to ultrasound which uses sound waves, OCT uses light waves to capture images of living tissue. It can achieve very high-resolution images of the eyes’ tissues.

Advanced Neovascular AMD (Wet AMD)

Neovascular AMD (wet AMD) typically results in severe vision loss. However, retina specialists can try different therapies to stop further vision loss. You should remember that the therapies described below are not a cure. The condition may progress even with treatment.

Currently, the best option to slow the progression of neovascular AMD is to inject medications into the eye. With neovascular AMD, abnormally high levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are secreted in your eyes. VEGF is a protein that promotes the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels. Anti-VEGF injection therapy blocks this growth. If you get this treatment, you may need multiple monthly injections. Before each injection, your eye will be numbed and cleaned with antiseptics. A few different anti-VEGF drugs are available (Avastin®, Lucentis®, Eylea®). They vary in cost and in how often they need to be injected, so you may wish to discuss these issues with Dr. Lima.

Find Out if You Have Macular Degeneration in Jacksonville

Schedule an appointment online or call our office at (904) 296-0098.