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What is macular degeneration and what are the risks?

At Thom Eye and Laser Clinic, Dr. Steve Thom sees many patients with a wide range of vision concerns. This includes those who are diagnosed with macular degeneration.

What is macular degeneration?

Dr. Steve Thom describes macular degeneration, also referred to as age-related macular degeneration, as an eye disease that results in the deterioration of the macula. The macula is the part of the retina which is responsible for centralized vision. Those who are dealing with age-related macular degeneration, sometimes referred to as AMD, will often find that this change in their central vision results in the inability to perform certain tasks and activities, including the ability to read a book or drive a vehicle. When the condition has become this severe, it is vital that patients talk to a medical professional about their condition and discuss possible treatment options.

Who is at risk of developing macular degeneration?

Some of the risk factors that can cause a patient to develop AMD include:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Cardiovascular concerns including high cholesterol and obesity
  • Extensive exposure to sunlight/UV rays
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Aging

What types of age-related macular degeneration are there?

The two types of AMD include dry and wet varieties. The most common is dry macular degeneration, which is caused by cell breakdown in the macular that ca lead to the development of drusen, which are whitish-yellow spots that can become larger and result in visual decline. The other type is wet macular degeneration, and is more serious. It affects approximately 10-15% of patients who are diagnosed with macular degeneration. This condition might cause permanent blind spots in centralized vision.

What treatment options are available?

Treatment for age-related macular degeneration may include:

  • Vitamins, supplements, or changes in nutritional intake
  • Monitoring the progression of the condition using the Amsler grid
  • Eye injections
  • Laser treatments
  • The use of low vision aids to improve quality of life

Discuss macular degeneration with our providers at Thom Eye and Laser Clinic

Fargo, ND area patients who are in need of information regarding macular degeneration or are seeking a new eyecare facility and physician are welcome to book a consultation appointment with Dr. Steve Thom by calling (701) 235-5200. His facility is located at 2601 University Drive South and is open to new and established patients seeking care from a trained and experienced ophthalmologist.

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