About Texas Macular Degeneration Associates
We have a very close professional relationship with a group of retinal specialists in Dallas. We have been referring patients to them, and they refer back to me after treatment for over 40 years. Out of these retinal specialists, three of them specialize in the macula. Any time we see a case of macular degeneration, and we fear that it is going to turn wet, or has a high probability that it will turn wet, we will get that patient right over to the retinal specialist.
A retinal specialist who specializes in macular degeneration treatment and can come up with a treatment plan. Typically, the treatment involves injections in the eye to stop the new vessel growth and the leakage. Our job is to prevent patients from transitioning into wet macular degeneration. A certain percentage will and some will no matter what you do. We want to make sure that we prevent them from turning wet by our treatment plans, lifestyle changes, nutritionals, vitamins. I think it is very important for primary care eye doctors to work very closely with retinal specialists who are in a position to provide surgical care.
This is the focus of your practice, do the prevention and pre-testing. You want to get to the retinal specialist and feel that you are working with a well-equipped optometrist who can do the pretesting, but also get in touch with the retinal specialist quickly who can deal with it properly. Some optometrists might just send them over some random retinal specialist with whom he doesn’t work closely.
Is an Optomap enough to examine the health of a retina?
Most times, you won’t see enough of the macula in an Optomap scan. The day I see a retinal specialist with an Optomap in his/her office, I’ll buy one. When my retinal camera finally gives out, I’ll get an Optomap only because it’s nice to have a broader view of the retina.
But the fact is that it’s not a substitute for dilation.
Retinal specialists would have Optomaps in their office if they could circumvent dilation. But you just can’t get out to the last 10 or 15 degrees where the retina attaches and can thin out and become compromised with stretching and thinning and holes. Anyone who gives the patient the assurance that one’s retina is fine by virtue of an Optomap, is really not telling him the truth. However, Optomap is very valuable because it does give us a little further than we were able to pass without dilating. But it is not a substitute.
Why come to us?
Simply put, retinal specialists who specialize in macular degeneration treatment are too busy to deal with patients who have dry macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration patients require no medical intervention, be it injections or surgery. As there is such a shortage of retinal specialists, they would much rather have a qualified, dedicated optometrist manage these types of patients with macular degeneration as long as it’s dry.
We do all the standards of care to prevent macular degeneration from worsening/slowing it down. Ultimately, if someone is destined to go blind in one eye, if they are treated by an optometrist properly with lifestyle changes and diets and vitamins, and if they’re empowered by the optometrist to take it seriously, many of those people who might have gone blind in one eye might just lose a few lines of acuity. So there are benefits for an optometrist treating it with a lifestyle change but the retinal guys and gals – they would rather us do it because they have so many patients who they operate on and do injections with. They welcome us to get involved.