Macular Degeneration Specialist

Retina & Macular Disease Specialists

Ophthalmologists & Retina and Macular Disease Specialists located in Arlington, VA

As many as 11 million Americans have macular degeneration, making it one of the most common eye diseases and the leading cause of vision loss. Dr. Jeevan Mathura and Dr. Lindsay Smithen encourage you to schedule routine eye examinations so they can identify macular degeneration at an early stage before you begin to experience changes in vision. To schedule an eye exam, call their practice, Retina & Macular Disease Specialists in Arlington, Virginia, or book an appointment online.

Macular Degeneration Q & A

Retina & Macular Disease Specialists

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), affects a small area in the center of your retina called the macula. AMD can occur in one or both eyes, where it may progress slowly or quickly.

Since the macula is responsible for sharp vision and the ability to see objects in front of you, its progressive deterioration affects your ability to see details. Over time, AMD interferes with daily activities like reading and driving.

What are the two types of macular degeneration?

Your doctor at Retina & Macular Disease Specialists can diagnose AMD based on the extent of physical symptoms inside your eye. In the early stages, however, you won’t experience symptoms like vision loss.

When you reach the late stage, you’ll have one or two types of AMD; both can develop in the same eye:

Dry macular degeneration

Cells in the macula gradually break down due to age-related thinning. Since these cells send visual information to the brain, vision loss develops. Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of AMD.

Wet macular degeneration

Develops when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath your retina. The macula becomes swollen and damaged as the vessels leak fluid and blood. The damage may be rapid and severe, causing permanent vision loss.

What symptoms will you experience from macular degeneration?

Dry and wet macular degeneration cause symptoms such as:

  • Blurry vision
  • Distorted vision (straight lines appear bent)
  • Reduced central vision (dark area in the center of your vision)
  • Decreased brightness of colors
  • Loss of clear color vision
  • Need for brighter light when doing close work
  • Difficulty adapting to low light levels
  • Difficulty recognizing faces

How is macular degeneration treated?

Your treatment depends on the stage and type of macular degeneration. There currently aren’t treatments available for the dry form. Taking specific antioxidant vitamins and minerals may help slow its progression.

Your doctor may consider several treatments for wet macular degeneration:

  • Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injection: Stops abnormal blood vessel growth
  • Visudyne photodynamic therapy: Closes blood vessels
  • Laser coagulation: Destroys or seals new blood vessels
  • Implantable telescope: Magnifies images and improves central vision

The team at Retina & Macular Disease Specialists does what they can to keep you from unnecessary surgery and invasive treatments.  Early and prompt intervention with a trusted medical provider such as Dr. Mathura or Dr. Smithen is the key to success.