Macular degeneration is a condition in which the macula of the eye breaks down, resulting in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field. The function of the macula is to protect the eyes by absorbing excessive ultraviolet rays, thus acting like a natural sun block for the eyes. Today, macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in North America. The majority of people affected by macular degeneration are 65 or older. The macula of our eyes also contributes to our ability to drive, read, see colors, and recognize human faces. The retinal pigment epithelium is a tissue situated under the retina that may degenerate as we age. This degeneration may result in “wet” macular degeneration or “dry” macular degeneration.
Atrophic or dry macular degeneration is a common type of age-related macular degeneration. About 85-90% of macular degeneration cases consist of dry macular degeneration. When an individual suffers from dry macular degeneration, small yellow-colored deposits, known as drusen, can be seen between the layers of retina. These deposits lead to gradual and progressive reduction of central vision. Most people above the age of 50 have some level of drusen in their eyes. Drusen will not create any problem immediately, but it can be dangerous if the deposits become larger. If your eyes have drusen, then Dr. William Boothe will recommend that you schedule regular eye examinations so he can monitor the progression of your dry macular degeneration.
When dry macular degeneration progresses to a certain extent, it becomes known as “wet” macular degeneration. The abnormal growth of a newly formed blood vessel under the retina is known as wet macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration is a more serious condition than dry macular degeneration. Fortunately, only 10-15% of macular degeneration patients suffer from wet macular degeneration. The newly formed blood vessels are known as neovascularization. The fragile structure of these abnormal blood vessels makes them break easily, thereby causing bleeding. The bleeding causes the macula to swell and can lead to scarring. Scarring of the macula causes severe and rapid central vision loss, which cannot be corrected through treatment.
LASIK treatment cannot cure macular degeneration, but it can slow down the process so that the condition does not progress in severity to wet macular degeneration. According to Dr. Boothe, LASIK procedure will help you preserve your remaining vision. With the help of LASIK, Dr. Boothe can stop the spread of abnormal blood vessel formation that can lead to wet macular degeneration. In order to be most effective, LASIK procedure should be performed at the early stages of macular degeneration. Dr. William Boothe will use LASIK to destroy newly formed blood vessels to prevent bleeding in the eyes. LASIK treatment can also be used in combination with other therapies, such as vitamin regimens, to improve the condition. Dr. Boothe will ask you to undergo a series of eye examinations so he can understand the extent of eye damage caused by macular degeneration and determine whether LASIK treatment will be effective and safe for you.
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Dallas Lasik surgeon Dr. Boothe, Director of Boothe Eye Care & Laser Center, explains different vision correction techniques and procedures in his new blog.