Macular Degeneration Specialist

Cliffside Laser Eye and Cataract Center

Richard Levine, MD

Cataract and LASIK Surgeon & Ophthalmologist located in Cliffside Park, NJ

Macular degeneration can worsen your vision over time, but a lot can be done to prevent total blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment for macular degeneration are key for saving your vision. Richard Levine, MD is pleased to provide effective options for patients in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. To schedule an exam, call Cliffside Laser Eye and Cataract Center, or book your appointment online.

Macular Degeneration Q & A

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration happens when the small central part of the retina called the macula deteriorates. Though it almost never leads to total blindness, macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible and severe vision loss in people over age 60.

There are two types, including:

  • Dry form, in which yellow deposits known as drusen develop in the macula
  • Wet form, in which abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula and leak blood and fluid into the retina

Who gets macular degeneration?

Most anyone can develop macular degeneration, but the following factors increase your risk:

  • Being over age 60
  • Being female
  • Having light skin or eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of the condition
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

What symptoms does macular degeneration cause?

You may not notice any symptoms when macular degeneration first sets in. People usually recognize it when it affects both eyes or worsens.

Symptoms may include:

  • Blurred vision with a blurry, dim area in the middle of your vision that may enlarge over time
  • Dark, blurry spots in the center of your vision
  • Changed or diminished perception of color

How is macular degeneration diagnosed?

Macular degeneration can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam. Dr. Levine can see any yellow deposits under your retina, which are a common early sign. He may also have you look at a grid with a checkerboard pattern of lines. If some of the lines look wavy or seem missing to you, this may indicate macular degeneration.

Once the condition is suspected, he may recommend an angiography. During this procedure, dye is injected into a vein in your arm, then images are taken as the dye flows through blood vessels in the retina. The images will show whether any leaking occurs. An OCT test works similarly, but without dye.

How is macular degeneration treated?

Though there is no known cure for macular degeneration, early diagnosis and treatment can help slow it down and prevent severe vision loss. Your treatment may involve:

  • Anti-angiogenesis medications, which block the formation of new blood vessels and their leakage
  • Dietary supplements such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, copper, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, or eating more foods rich in these nutrients
  • Laser therapy, which destroys growing abnormal blood vessels
  • Submacular surgery, which removes abnormal blood or blood vessels
  • Retinal translocation surgery, which destroys abnormal blood vessels under the center of the macula