The macula is the critical part of the retina which is responsible for central vision. This central vision includes many important functions of our vision, including reading, driving, and recognizing faces. Sometimes macular degeneration is referred to as 'ARMD', which stands for Age Related Macular Degeneration. It usually involves both eyes, but often begins in one.
There are two main types of macular degeneration. The first is called 'non-exudative' or 'dry'. By far the most common type, dry ARMD is thought to be an abnormal accumulation of metabolic waste products in the retina. Often dry ARMD is accompanied by only subtle blurry or distorted vision. However, dry ARMD can also be responsible for profound vision loss. The second type of macular degeneration is known as “exudative” or wet. Wet ARMD is less common, and is caused by abnormal blood vessel formation or bleeding in the retina. Usually wet ARMD causes very blurry or distorted central vision.
Researchers have a growing understanding of the underlying reasons for ARMD, as well as how to reduce the risk of worsening. Anti-oxidant nutritional supplements, as well as lutein and zeathanthin may reduce the risk of worsening macular degeneration in some patients. For patients where studies show it is beneficial, there are over-the-counter vitamin formulations for macular degeneration. Nashua Eye offers a formulation of lutein and zeathantin. An eye doctor is the best person for counselling if a nutritional supplement may be helpful.
Remarkable advancements in the treatment of wet ARMD have been made over the last ten years. Medications in the family of anti-VEGF's, or 'vascular endothelial growth factor', have allowed for many patients stop the progression of ARMD, and in some cases, improve vision. Nashua Eye offers the services of retina specialists who are trained and experienced in the latest macular degeneration treatments.