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Macular Degeneration



Macular DegenerationAMD gradually destroys the macula portion of the retina, the part of the eye that provides the sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly. As its name implies, the principal cause of AMD is the aging process itself. With time, most individuals’ blood vessels become narrowed (sclerotic) and ultimately fragile. Simplistically speaking, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) leads to dry AMD, while fragile or abnormal blood vessels lead to wet AMD.

Other causal risk factors for AMD include:

  • Smoking, which increases the risk of AMD two-fold by virtue of its adverse effect upon circulation
  • Race, as Caucasians are much more likely to get AMD than people of African descent
  • Family history, as people with a family history of AMD are at higher risk

There are two types of AMD - wet and dry (the most common form). Dry AMD cannot be reversed with any sort of treatment, but because it processes so slowly, most patients will live normal lives with little affect on daily activities. Taking a high-dose formulation of antioxidant vitamins may reduce progression. Your doctor can recommend the right formulation for you.

The most common symptoms of Dry AMD include:

  • Needing brighter light when reading
  • Increased difficulty in adjusting to lower light levels
  • Increasing blurriness of printed words
  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • Crooked central vision
  • Haziness of vision
  • Blind spots in vision
  • With advanced AMD, hallucinations of shapes or people

Wet AMD is less common, but symptoms appear more rapidly, and the progression is much faster, making vision loss more likely. The symptoms of wet AMD include:

  • Visual distortions, such as straight lines appearing wavy
  • Decreased central vision
  • Well-defined blurry spots in vision
  • Dull color vision
  • Abrupt onset
  • Rapis worsening
  • With advanced AMD, hallucinations of shapes or people

Treatments for wet AMD include medications, photo-dynamic therapy, and laser treatment. If diagnosed with wet AMD, your doctor will know which direction or treatment is best for you.

Any changes in vision should warrant a vision to the eye doctor, especially if you are showing the symptoms above. Age Related Macular Degeneration is a disease that affects people generally over the age of 50, when symptoms usually start to arise. The exact cause of AMD is unknown, but we do know that the condition worsens with age. If you are noticing changes in your vision, or if you are due for a vision exam, give Koch Eye a call!


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The Greater New Bedford Surgical and Laser Center

The Greater New Bedford Surgical and Laser Center was opened in 1986 with the express purpose of rendering high quality, state of the art eye surgery to patients of all ages, especially those with cataracts, glaucoma, or cornea disease. The Center is designed specifically with the needs of the patient in mind. The entire process from initial examination to final outcome is conducted in a pleasant comfortable environment.

After a patient decides to have surgery, he or she is assigned his or her own Surgical Counselor who is available to answer questions and provide assistance. These individuals are specially trained to assist the patient throughout the entire surgical experience, including follow up care for as long as necessary. Patients are encouraged to contact their counselor for any questions, no matter how simple or complex.