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Macular Degeneration

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Your New York Macular Degeneration Specialists

Macular Degeneration is the number one cause of vision loss in Americans over the age of 60. In the US alone, an estimated 2 million people have advanced cases of macular degeneration, which is around the same amount of people that have invasive cancer. Statistically the numbers are even more worrisome as the rate of Americans with macular degeneration is increasing every year, with estimates saying that cases will double to 4 million Americans over the next 30 years.

At Schoenbart Vision Care in our, we specialize in treating patients with all forms of macular degeneration; Dry AMD, Wet AMD, and Juvenile macular degeneration.

For A Free Low Vision Phone Consultation:

Call Us (516) 712-6002

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What Is Macular Degeneration?

The main type of macular degeneration is associated with age and is commonly called age related macular degeneration (or AMD/AMRD for short). Macular degeneration refers to the breakdown of the macula which is the part of the retina associated with sharp central vision.

Types of Macular Degeneration:

  • Dry AMD: Most common; accounting for close to 90% of cases; a result of deposits forming under the retina which cause cell death.
  • Wet AMD: Accounts for around 10% of cases; but causes the most severe vision loss; a result of abnormal blood vessels which scar the macula, causing rapid vision loss sometimes in as short a time as a week.
  • Juvenile Macular Degeneration: This is a broad term used to refer to multiple rare forms of macular degeneration such as Stargardt's disease, Best Disease, and Juvenile Retinoschisis. These forms of the disease effect children and young adults.
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Who Does AMD Affect?

Since early stage AMD may not have noticeable symptoms and there is no cure for it, our optometrists recommend for everyone over the age of 50 to have an exam to check if you are at risk for developing macular degeneration.

There are certain people who are statistically more at risk of developing macular degeneration.

  • Smoker or previous smoker
  • Older than 60
  • Caucasian
  • Obese
  • Used to a diet high in fat and low in nutrients
  • Lots of lifetime exposure to the sun
  • Family History of AMD
  • Inactivate
  • High blood pressure
  • Light colored eyes
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What Are The Symptoms Of AMD?

In early stages of AMD there are often no noticeable symptoms.

Common symptoms of Dry macular degeneration include:

  • Blind spots
  • Needing bright light for everyday tasks
  • Difficulty reading, driving and recognizing faces because of distorted vision
  • Fuzzy central vision
  • Semi-blurred central vision
  • Difficulty differentiating between changes in color or texture
  • Difficulty with changes in lighting
  • Lowered depth perception

For wet macular degeneration additional symptoms may include:

  • Rapid loss of central vision
  • Straight lines appearing wavy

A Macular Degeneration Eye Exam

There are many tests that your eye doctor will perform for a macular degeneration eye exam. It is important to go to an optometrist who is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of macular degeneration. Our eye doctor, Dr. Schoenbart has been specializing in working with macular degeneration patients in New York and Long Island since he completed his Residency in Rehabilitative optometry (low vision) in 1987.

Amsler Grid: Each eye is checked by looking at an image that looks similar to graph paper with a dot in the center, to see if the lines appear wavy.

Dilated Eye Exam: This allows your optometrist to get a better view of the back of your retina.

Fundoscopy or Ophthalmoscopy: A bright light is shone into the eye when the pupil is dilated to see the retina, blood vessels, choroid, and optic disk.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): This machine identifies areas of the retina that are thinning.

Tonometry: This is used to measure the pressure in the eye.

Visual Acuity Test: Assessing the patient's ability to view objects at distance.

Treatment Of Macular Degeneration

Older Couple Bench Bikes 1280x853There is no cure for macular degeneration, however there are many different methods that our eye doctor uses to slow progression and to make living with macular degeneration more manageable.

Depending on your type of macular degeneration (Dry, Wet, Juvenile) and the severity of the disease, our eye doctor will recommend a treatment plan specifically tailored to your situation. This is a list of some of the more common treatment options.

Angiogenesis Inhibitors: A special inhibitor is injected into your eye by the Retinologist which prevents abnormal blood vessels from growing, which can cause irreversible damage if not suppressed.

Implantable Miniature Telescopes: The telescope is implanted into one eye, which then performs the role of center vision, while the other eye performs the role of peripheral vision.

Specially Formulated Supplements: Research has shown that taking supplements with the three antioxidants found in the macula - lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin - can slow down the progression of macular degeneration.

Visual Aids: Perhaps the most underrated of treatment options, are the wide variety of vision aids available which allow a patient to live a functioning and happy life with macular degeneration. There are many types of aids on the market, such as computer software for easier use of email and interne, magnifiers, and literature on coping with low vision.

Telescopic Glasses: Telescopic glasses are specially made miniature telescopes which sit on top of your glasses. In the state of New York driving is legal with corrected vision using telescopic glasses.

Tips To Lower Your Risk Of Macular Degeneration

There are many ways you can lower your risks of AMD.

    • Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection
    • Take supplements that increase your intake of antioxidants that naturally occur in the macula
    • Go for yearly eye exams with an eye doctor experienced in low vision
    • Don't smoke
    • Eat a healthy diet including plenty of leafy greens
    • Increase your intake of Omega-3 (by eating fish, fish oil, walnuts, flax seeds or supplements); studies indicate a reduction of 40% in the rate of AMD with participants who ate fish once a week
    • Exercise; a meta study of 4000 participants over 15 years showed a 70% reduction of AMD with exercise of 2 miles a day 3 times a week
    • Wear computer glasses with blue light protection

For A Free Low Vision Phone Consultation:

Call Us (516) 712-6002

Other Links

  • Macular degeneration (also called AMD, ARMD, or age-related macular degeneration) is an age-related condition in which the most sensitive part of the retina, called the macula, starts to break down and lose its ability to create clear visual images. 
  • Dry macular degeneration symptoms include: consistent, slightly blurred vision within your central visual field. You may have difficulty in recognizing faces. And have a sudden need for more light while reading or working. The dry form of this disease gets progressively worse, over time. Wet macular degeneration symptoms include: a distortion of straight lines and an inability to focus properly on a single point within a grid. Wet macular degeneration is an advanced stage of the disease, and often results in blind spots and loss of centralized vision.
  • Macular degeneration symptoms vary based on the particular form of the disease (dry or wet), and the stage the disease at the time it is discovered.
  • There is as yet no outright cure for macular degeneration, but some treatments may delay its progression or even improve vision.