Ophthalmology Manchester Ophthalmology Manchester

Diseases Treated


Dr. Gold treats all diseases of the retina and vitreous. Below are descriptions of the more common diseases he treats.

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration Treatment ManchesterMacular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a common condition in older adults and the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 65. Macular degeneration affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for the crisp, detailed vision needed for reading or driving. As we age, the tissue in the eye responsible for central vision can slowly begin to deteriorate, which can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life.

Types

Macular degeneration can be classified as either wet (neovascular) or dry (non-neovascular). Dry macular degeneration is the more common type and is considered to be an earlier stage of the disease. This type of the disease usually develops as a result of aging and thinning of macular tissues and the depositing of pigment within the macula. Only about 10% of patients see their condition progress to the more advanced and damaging wet macular degeneration. In wet macular degeneration, new blood vessels develop beneath the retina and cause leakage of blood and fluid. This leakage can lead to permanent damage in the central vision and the creation of blind spots. Although less common, wet macular degeneration accounts for 90% of severe visual loss in patients with macular degeneration.

Symptoms

Patients with macular degeneration may notice gradual changes in their vision, including shadowy areas in the central vision, or fuzzy vision. Patients may also have difficulty seeing color and fine details.

If the disease progresses to the wet form, patients may also see straight lines as wavy. With wet macular degeneration, central vision loss can occur rapidly, sometimes in as little as a few days or weeks.

Dr. Gold can detect early signs of macular degeneration, before any symptoms occur, through a detailed eye exam. Any signs of this condition can be further confirmed by testing your central vision with an Amsler grid test. Regular eye exams are important in detecting macular degeneration as early as possible, so that the risk of visual loss is minimized.

Cause and Risk Factors

Many cases of macular degeneration are a result of aging and the natural deterioration of the eye tissue that is needed for clear vision. This disease can also be related to a genetic factor in patients who have a gene variant known as complement factor H. Nearly half of the blinding cases of macular degeneration are linked to this genetic abnormality. Macular degeneration is most common in females and Caucasians, and the risk for all patients increases with age. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. for patients over the age of 65. Over 14% of adults between the ages of 70 and 79 have been diagnosed with advanced or intermediate age-related macular degeneration.

Other factors that may increase your risk of macular degeneration include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Heredity
  • High fat diet
  • Lighter eye color

Patients can minimize their risk of macular degeneration by practicing a healthy lifestyle and getting regular eye exams. It is important for patients to exercise regularly, avoid smoking, and eat a balanced diet that includes foods such as green leafy vegetables, which are known to preserve vision and prevent eye diseases.

Treatment

While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are several treatment options available to help patients manage this condition and preserve their vision. The best treatment option for each patient depends on the severity and type of the condition, as well as how much, if any, permanent vision loss has occurred.

Intraocular injections of Avastin , Lucentis or Eylea are often successful in stopping abnormal blood vessel growth in wet macular degeneration. These medications are injected into the vitreous of the eye on a regular basis to control the damaging effects of wet macular degeneration. Many patients also benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements. A large scientific study at the National Eye Institute found that people at risk for developing advanced stages of AMD lowered their risk by about 25% when treated with a high dose combination of vitamin C. vitamin E, beta carotene, zinc, and cupric oxide. This is called the AREDS formulation.

Dr. Gold has extensive experience in the treatment of macular degeneration and can offer patients the latest, most advanced treatments to help preserve their vision and overall quality of life. During your exam, Dr. Gold will examine your eyes with specialized equipment. An optical coherence tomogram (OCT) may be performed to assess for any macular swelling as a result of abnormal blood vessels. Special photographs called fluorescein angiography may also be recommended. To learn more about our services, call to schedule an appointment.

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