If you’ve visited your community hospital because you have noticed changes in your central vision, your doctor might diagnose you with macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is an eye disorder characterized by the destruction of the macula, which is a component of the retina of your eye. Although macular degeneration is a serious vision disorder that can lead to permanent vision loss, your hospital may offer treatments that can help.
Causes and Risk Factors
Dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is characterized by the formation of small, yellow deposits. The blood vessels beneath the macula become brittle. Wet AMD occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels develop beneath the macula. These blood vessels leak fluids, which causes vision loss. Although the exact cause of AMD is unknown, certain risk factors are associated with it, such as smoking, eating a high-fat diet, and having a family history of the disorder.
AMD often does not cause symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do occur in those with dry AMD, they can include blurry vision, particularly in the central field of vision. Patients may notice they require more light to perform tasks. If you have wet AMD, you’ll likely notice that lines that should appear straight look wavy or distorted. You might also notice a dark spot in your central field of vision, which will worsen over time. Any of these symptoms require a prompt trip to the hospital to consult an ophthalmologist.
If you’re diagnosed with AMD in its early stages and you’re not a smoker, the doctor at your hospital is likely to recommend supplementation with zinc, copper, vitamin C, and beta-carotene to slow the progression of the disease. If you have wet AMD, you might be a good candidate for treatment options such as laser surgery, medications, or photodynamic therapy.
At Memorial Hospital of Tampa, our patient-centered hospital provides a comprehensive range of healthcare services, including ophthalmologic care. Families in South Tampa can learn more about caring for their vision by scheduling a checkup with an ophthalmologist at our community hospital. Give us a call at (813) 873-6400 or explore our resources on our hospital’s website.