Macular Degeneration & Management

Macular degeneration is a deterioration of the central retina called the macula.  The macula is responsible for central vision, ability to see colors and fine detail. There are two types of macular degeneration, with the most common being the dry form. A break down in the retinal pigment epithelium occurs, deposits called drusen develop in the retina and the tissue becomes thin and stops functioning properly.  As the disease slowly progresses, central vision diminishes. This degeneration maybe due to the natural aging process in some people, increased UV exposure, smoking, poor diet and genetics (family history).  Treatment consists of nutritional management, cessation of smoking and UV protection. The second type is called the wet form due to a leakage of fluid from delicate abnormal blood vessels which have formed at the macula.  This form is more serious and vision can decrease more rapidly.  In recent years, new treatment consists of injections in the eye which reduce the fluid in the macula.  Our doctors are trained to detect these changes and co-manage those patients requiring injections with many retinologists in the Birmingham area.

Photo from the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.