Macular Degeneration

Hawaii Vision Specialists

Ophthalmology & Optometry located in Hilo, HI

Affecting more than 10 million Americans, macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. The highly trained team at Hawaii Vision Specialists in Hilo, Hawaii, are experts in diagnosing and treating macular degeneration early, so they can help prevent more serious stages of the disease, including vision loss. If you have vision problems that may indicate the early stages of macular degeneration, call to schedule an appointment to get the expert treatment you need.

Macular Degeneration Q & A

Hawaii Vision Specialists

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration, which is a condition that typically occurs as you age, involves the deterioration of the center portion of your retina. The center of your retina, the macula, is the most sensitive part of your retina. It records the images you see and sends the information to your brain via the optic nerve. The macula controls the central focus of your vision and influences your ability to:

  • Read and watch TV
  • Drive a car
  • See fine details in faces
  • Interpret different colors
  • Focus on your computer screen

Vision problems from macular degeneration usually develop gradually in both eyes, so you may not notice a problem until you begin having difficulty focusing on objects or reading in a dimly lit setting.

What are the risk factors for developing macular degeneration?

The cause of macular degeneration isn’t totally clear, but medical experts do know that certain risk factors may increase your chances of developing dry macular degeneration — the most common form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Your risk increases if you:

  • Are age 50 or over
  • Are overweight
  • Eat a diet high in saturated fats
  • Are a smoker
  • Have light-colored eyes
  • Have a family history of AMD
  • Have high blood pressure

Additionally, some research shows that environmental factors, such as oxygen-deprived cells in the retina, may also lead to macular damage.

What treatments are available for macular degeneration?

Managing risk factors that make you more prone to the onset of macular degeneration is a good place to start. For example, you should quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, and manage other health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. If your vision has already begun to deteriorate, the expert doctors at Hawaii Vision Specialists may recommend retina injections, such as Lucentis® and Eylea®, which can help stop abnormal blood vessel growth in your eyes.

Your doctor will inject the medication directly into your eyes one time or in a series of injections. While these drugs most likely won’t completely restore your vision, they may help slow the progression of macular degeneration or prevent additional vision loss. In some cases, you may experience improved sight with retina injections.

To learn more about preventing, managing, and treating macular degeneration, call to schedule a consultation with Hawaii Vision Specialists.