Currently, 11 million people in the United States are diagnosed with macular degeneration, and many others with the disease go undiagnosed.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible severe vision loss and blindness.
By 2050, it is projected that the incidence of diagnosed macular degeneration will double to 22 million. The prevalence of this disease may be more than we know as recent reports reveal that approximately 25% of patients after having a dilated eye examination had macular degeneration that was undiagnosed. Sadly, by the time patients are diagnosed with macular degeneration, 78% have already suffered irreversible vision loss, hence the importance of early detection.
Texas Macular Degeneration Associates, Inc. in coordination with the Eye Doctor’s Office now offers early detection of macular degeneration using the AdaptDx
We are proud to make the claim that we are amongst the first eye care practices in North Texas to have access to this new diagnostic technology that detects this dreadful disease up to three years before it is detected in a routine eye examination.
Our optometrists, Dr. Bob Consor and Dr. Jennifer Nguyen, are part of a team of affiliated off site ophthalmologists and retinal specialists associated with:
- Texas Retina Associates,
- The Retina Foundation of the Southwest Dallas Texas
- Primary care physicians
- Medical sub-specialties
Through our affiliation, we are able to provide you with the most comprehensive eye exam utilizing the latest in eye care technology for the detection, management, and treatment of macular degeneration.
Earlier detection of this very serious eye disease, allows early treatment, which leads to better patient outcomes. The prognosis for macular degeneration is much brighter and visual acuity loss is now preventable as innovation in eye care continues. Although macular degeneration is more common over the age of 50 the disease does not exclude younger patients. Early detection with the AdaptDx can aid in the evaluation of a patients risk factor for the disease along with new advances in genetic testing. Treatment plans are available in the form of nutritional supplements and life style changes to minimize the effects of this disease on the quality of one’s life and preserve vision.
Who Should Be Concerned About Macular Degeneration
We feel that everybody should be concerned and aware especially:
- If you have a close family member with macular degeneration
- Have ever used tobacco products in the past
- Been around secondary smoke
- If you hardly ever wear sunglasses
- Are experiencing night vision problems
- Are experiencing distorted vision
- If you are over weight
- If you have high blood pressure
- Have elevated cholesterol
- People who don’t exercise
- If you don’t like to eat green vegetables
The Importance of Early Detection
The goal of managing macular degeneration is to preserve visual function, including but not limited to visual acuity. To achieve this goal early detection, monitoring and treatment must be practiced. Texas Macular Degeneration Associates eye care practitioners, Bob Consor OD and Jenifer Nguyen OD have a deep understanding of the causes, detection and management of this serious vision threatening eye disease that not only affects vision but the quality of life. They are dedicated to a continuance of their education and the investment in the latest technology in diagnosing and management of macular degeneration. Along with a support team of affiliated Ophthalmologists and retinal surgeons they are part of an eye care team that works together through common knowledge and inter-referral to provide you with the best of care and outcomes.
- Eye doctors nationwide are missing in the detection of macular degeneration in the course of an examination 25% of the time.
- Currently doctors are not carefully looking or have not embraced some of the new innovations in technology to look for and find the early subclinical (before detectable in an eye examination) and clinical signs.
- Many are too passive in treating when diagnosing macular degeneration. One reason is that in the very early stages of the disease vision is not affected except for night vision.
- Dry macular degeneration is not diagnosed until patients present with drusen (see paragraph above) and visual acuity loss. By this time the patient has probably had macular degeneration for years and has lost some of the potential benefits of early detection.
- There is no cure for macular degeneration and the goal is to halt or slow the disease progression. Early detection allows for early treatment, which leads to better patient outcomes. With proper care significant visual acuity loss and improved quality of life can be preserved in many patients.
Treatment for Macular Degeneration
Treatment should commence the moment an eye doctor first detects MD regardless of the stage it is in. What follows is part of the overall treatment plan:
Stop smoking and stay away from smoke filled environments. Smoking increase your risk by two to five times and causes oxidative cellular damage that can contribute to the development of macular degeneration.
Studies showed a beneficial effect of high doses of antioxidant vitamins (C, E, Lutein, Zeaxanthin) a low dose Zinc (25mg) supplementation and Omega 3 fatty acids. These supplements reduce cellular stress and oxidation caused by inflammation.
A body mass index of (BMI) greater than 30 has a 2.5 times increased risk of developing MD. Any exercise is good from brisk walking, yard work or going to a local gym. Just do something to increase your heart rate but be sure to check with your medical doctor first.
Intake a lot of green leafy vegetables (the greener the better), fruits, nuts, olive oil and healthy fats like eggs. A low fat Mediterranean Diet is a good example (see below). A person with a body mass index greater than 30 has a 2.5 greater risk of developing macular degeneration.
Always wear sunglasses outdoors, ultraviolet rays cause macular degeneration and other eye diseases
Visit your eye doctor at least once a year or sooner if advised and control any medical diseases you are being treated for, as many diseases of the body carry and increased risk of macular degeneration.
If you were given an Amsler Grid by your eye doctor please use it as directed. It can help to detect early subtle changes in macular degeneration.
Normal Distortion form macular degeneration
Blue Blocker lenses
Dr. Bob Consor & Dr. Jennifer Nguyen prescribe Blue Blocker anti-reflection treatment for many prescription lenses to help protect you from the low wavelength (400-495nm) blue portion of the visual spectrum emitted by LED screens that can cause damage to the macular, cause visual disturbances and eye fatigue Studies indicate that blue light exposure has a role in the cause of macular degeneration from damage to the rod photoreceptors..
There are non-modifiable risk factors that still should be considered—namely genetics. Genetic testing is currently available and being refined to identify and manage macular degeneration earlier. Knowing the outcome of treatments of relatives who have had MD will better prepare eye doctors to treat other family members. We plan to soon offer genetic screenings. We also work with and refer patients to the Retina Foundation of the Southwest in Dallas for research and management in select cases.
Eye Injections (Anti-VEGF Therapy) are reserved for a severe advanced form of macular degeneration called wet macular degeneration. Although often times beneficial for some patients to stop the inflammation and minimize the growth of unwanted blood vessels in the macular area, Injections are currently used in select cases. Our office works closely with retinal specialists at Texas Retina Associates of Dallas in the medical management of wet macular degeneration.
Currently, there is no cure for Macular Degeneration (MD).
The management of MD has two primary goals
- Preserving vision preventing progression to more advanced MD
- Effectively detecting and managing wet MD (Choroidal Neovascular Membranes)
Achieving these goals will allow the patient to enjoy additional years of high-quality central vision, enhancing the odds of a better quality of life. Since people are living longer early diagnosis and consistent, aggressive management of the disease is required to minimize risk of vision loss.
The importance of following your doctor’s orders to return for follow up care and monitoring cannot be overstated. The management of macular degeneration by your eye doctor is crucial to maintaining and prevention of permanent vision loss.