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About Dry Macular Degeneration In Burnsville, Minnesota

woman with macular degeneration

How Quickly Does Dry Macular Degeneration Progress?

Dry macular degeneration can develop at any age, but many eye doctors only diagnose or detect dry macular degeneration once a person reaches their senior years. Unfortunately, a person can live with dry macular degeneration for decades without noticing any symptoms.

Changes in their vision can be gradual with only a small percentage of patients developing wet macular degeneration. On the other hand, visual changes can suddenly appear tomorrow or in a few years down the road! Scheduling routine eye exams with a practice who stresses the importance of macular degeneration testing will ensure your eyesight remains healthy and stable.

Two Forms Of Macular Degeneration

portrait of older man with macular degeneration
older woman with hoop earings, with macular degeneration

Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of MD, covering nearly 90% of all patients diagnosed with macular degeneration. Fortunately, dry macular degeneration can be monitored and managed without much permanent vision loss.

Neovascular or wet macular degeneration, which is only around 10% of individuals diagnosed with macular degeneration, accounts for nearly 90% of all cases of severe vision loss! Wet macular degeneration is a far worse and more vision threatening eye disease. The vision loss caused by wet age-related macular degeneration is due to abnormal blood vessels under the retina growing toward the macula. When these blood vessels start to leak, this leads to noticeable vision loss.

Wet macular degeneration is generally the stage after dry macular degeneration. If your eye doctor recently diagnosed you with macular degeneration, you likely have dry macular degeneration. Another way to know what type of macular degeneration you have depends on which eyes were diagnosed with macular degeneration.

Dry macular degeneration often affects both eyes, while wet macular degeneration generally starts with only one eye. Finally, wet macular degeneration carries noticeable side effects and/or vision loss, while dry macular degeneration may have little to none.

Symptoms Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry macular degeneration symptoms are rarely noticeable and will painlessly develop over time.

Some Symptoms That Can Develop In Advanced Dry Macular Degeneration Include:

  • Visual distortions. (Ex: Patients use amsler grids to see if straight lines appear bent or curved.)
  • Loss of central vision in one or both eyes.
  • Inability to recognize faces
  • Colors are less intense or bright
  • Printed words are blurry & hard to read
  • Dependence on bright light when reading or doing closeup work
  • Poor dark adaptation (Transitioning from a brightly lit room to low light levels takes a long time & causes eye strain)

While dry macular degeneration can lead to visual distortions, patients automatically compensate poor vision in one eye with their good eye. This leads to patients to ignore their troubled vision and take preventative action against these early stages of vision loss.

aged man with macular degeneration

Can Dry Macular Degeneration Cause Blindness?

Central vision loss caused by dry macular degeneration can lead to “legal blindness” in severe cases, although this is more common with wet macular degeneration. Generally, patients with dry macular degeneration have functional or normal peripheral vision. This means that dry macular degeneration will rarely lead to total blindness.

Treatment For Dry Macular Degeneration

Can Dry Macular Degeneration Be Treated?

To keep things brief, dry macular degeneration refers to the slow atrophy of light-sensitive cells in the eye, such as the rod and cone photoreceptors. Treating dry macular degeneration would have to restore any dead cells in the eye. Although stem cell research is trying to regenerate dead photoreceptors and actively treat this disease, there is no cure or treatment besides taking steps to prevent the disease from progressing.

Diagnostic technology, such as the AdaptDX, has helped us detect the earliest signs of dry macular degeneration. By monitoring the health of our patient’s eyes, we’ve guided numerous patients who are at risk of dry macular degeneration to maintain their eye health successfully. While there are FDA-approved drugs to treat wet macular degeneration, they can only maintain your eye health. So, if you’ve experience vision loss due to wet or dry macular degeneration, it’s irrecoverable.

What Is The Best Vitamin For Dry Macular Degeneration?

Vitamins, especially AREDS 2 vitamins, are commonly prescribed to prevent the progression or development of dry macular degeneration. Here are some of the vitamins commonly used in AREDS 2:

  • Vitamin C (500 mg)
  • Vitamin E (400 IU)
  • Lutein (10 mg)
  • Zeaxanthin (2 mg)
  • Zinc (80 mg)
  • Copper (2 mg)
seniors with macular degeneration

Prevention Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Annual eye exams will ensure the detection of early signs of dry macular degeneration and the most important form of prevention. We also recommend patients to follow these guidelines to prevent the progression of dry macular degeneration:

The Guidelines:
  • Don’t Smoke or Quit Now! Smokers are at greater risk of developing dry macular degeneration as well as many other diseases.
  • Monitor Your Health. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular disease, take your medication as instructed by your general practitioner.
  • Exercise. Obesity affects your overall health. To keep your body at its best, stay in shape or lose those extra pounds.
  • Fruits and Vegetables. A healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of developing dry macular degeneration.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Whether by eating certain fish, nuts, or vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of dry macular degeneration.

Serving Patients From:

Burnsville and the state of Minnesota