Macular Degeneration Services at Yaletown Eyecare

Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. Early detection and monitoring are crucial in managing AMD and preventing severe vision loss. At early diagnosis, there are lifestyle changes we can implement to help prevent or slow the progression of the disease. If the AMD is wet, it may require treatment from a retinal specialist, and early intervention is important to reduce the risk of scarring and permanent vision loss. At Yaletown EyeCare, our team of experienced optometrists has excellent relationships with the local retinal specialists. We provide comprehensive macular degeneration evaluations and personalized treatment plans to help maintain optimal eye health and vision.

Understanding Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a progressive eye condition affecting the macula, the central area of the retina responsible for sharp, detailed vision. It usually occurs with age and can lead to a gradual decline in central vision, affecting daily activities such as reading, recognizing faces, and driving. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry (atrophic) and wet (neovascular). Dry AMD is more common and is characterized by the gradual breakdown of light-sensitive cells in the macula, leading to blurred central vision. Wet AMD is less common but more severe, involving the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula that can leak fluid and blood, causing rapid and significant vision loss. Several factors contribute to the development of macular degeneration, including:
  • Age: Macular degeneration most commonly affects individuals over the age of 50.
  • Genetics: A family history of macular degeneration increases the risk of developing the condition.
  • Smoking: Smoking has been shown to increase the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Race: Caucasians are at a higher risk of developing AMD than other racial groups.
  • Diet and lifestyle: Diets high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and refined carbohydrates can increase the risk of AMD while consuming antioxidant-rich foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk.

Macular Degeneration Prevalence and Statistics in Canada

Macular degeneration is a significant public health concern in Canada, affecting over one million Canadians. It is the leading cause of vision loss in individuals 50 and older, with the prevalence expected to increase as the population ages. Raising awareness about macular degeneration and promoting regular eye examinations are essential for the early detection and management of this progressive eye condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

The early stages of macular degeneration may not present noticeable symptoms, making regular eye exams critical for early detection. As the condition progresses, individuals may experience:
  • Distorted vision: Straight lines may appear wavy or distorted due to changes in the macula.
  • Blurred central vision: As the macula deteriorates, individuals may notice a gradual decline in their central vision, making it difficult to read, drive, or recognize faces.
  • Dark or empty areas: Advanced stages of macular degeneration can result in dark or empty areas appearing in the central field of vision.
  • Changes in color perception: AMD can cause colors to appear less vibrant or washed out.
Dry and wet macular degeneration present different symptoms. While dry AMD leads to a gradual decline in vision, wet AMD often causes more rapid and significant vision loss. Regular eye exams are crucial for early detection, even for individuals without noticeable symptoms.

Macular Degeneration Diagnosis at Yaletown EyeCare

To accurately diagnose macular degeneration, our optometrists at Yaletown EyeCare will perform a comprehensive eye examination, including a detailed assessment of your eye health, retinal imaging, macular OCT scan, and visual acuity testing. Diagnostic tests for macular degeneration may include:
  • Amsler grid: This test involves having the patient look at a grid with a central dot to detect any distortions or irregularities in their central vision.
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT): OCT is a non-invasive imaging technique that provides detailed cross-sectional images of the retina, allowing the optometrist to visualize and measure retinal structures, including the macula.
  • Fluorescein angiography: This test would be done at a retinal specialist’s office. It involves injecting a fluorescent dye into the patient’s bloodstream and taking photographs of the retina to identify any abnormal blood vessels or leakage associated with wet AMD.
At Yaletown EyeCare, our team of optometrists is equipped with the expertise and state-of-the-art technology necessary to provide an accurate and timely diagnosis of macular degeneration.

Macular Degeneration Treatment and Management

While there is currently no cure for macular degeneration, several treatment and management options can help slow the progression of the disease and maintain a patient’s quality of life. Based on the type and severity of your macular degeneration, our optometrists at Yaletown EyeCare will recommend the most appropriate treatment plan tailored to your needs. This may include:
  • Nutritional supplements: Certain vitamins and minerals, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, have been shown to help slow the progression of dry AMD in some individuals.
  • Anti-VEGF injections: For wet AMD, medications that inhibit the growth of abnormal blood vessels can be injected into the eye to help preserve vision. This is done at the retinal specialist’s office.
  • Laser therapy: In specific cases of wet AMD, laser therapy may destroy abnormal blood vessels and prevent further leakage or damage to the macula. This is done at the retinal specialist’s office.
Ongoing monitoring and regular eye exams are vital for individuals with macular degeneration to track the progression of the disease and adjust treatment plans as necessary.

Preventive Measures and Education

Reducing the risk factors associated with macular degeneration and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or delay the onset of the disease. Prevention tips include:
  • Regular eye exams: Early detection is crucial in managing AMD; schedule regular eye examinations, especially if you have a family history or are over 50.
  • Healthy diet: Consume a diet rich in antioxidants, such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, to support eye health and reduce the risk of AMD.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking significantly increases the risk of AMD; quitting can help protect your vision.
  • UV protection: Wear sunglasses that block harmful UV rays to prevent retinal damage.
Yaletown EyeCare is committed to patient education and promoting preventive care to help individuals maintain optimal eye health and vision.

Our Services​

Comprehensive Eye Exams

Comprehensive Eye Exams

Eye Condition Management and Treatment

Advanced Eye Care Services

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today

Don’t let macular degeneration go undetected or untreated. Take control of your eye health by scheduling an eye exam at Yaletown EyeCare today.

Trust the experts at Yaletown EyeCare for your macular degeneration diagnosis, treatment, and management needs. Our experienced optometrists are dedicated to providing personalized care and guidance throughout your journey to maintain a healthy vision.