Santa Ana Ophthalmology

The Retina Associates of Orange County

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

If you would like to meet with a Santa Ana eye doctor because you suspect you may be experiencing age-related macular degeneration, make an appointment with Retina Associates of Orange County. Our physicians are board certified ophthalmologists who specialize in diseases of the retina, vitreous, and macula.

Only a trained and qualified eye doctor in Santa Ana can diagnose whether or not you have macular degeneration. However, the following information about macular degeneration may be informative before meeting with a specialist at Retina Associates of Orange County.

What is age-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye condition that is very common for people aged 50 and older, and is a leading cause of vision loss. It damages the macula, which is a small area near the center of the retina. A healthy macula is required for sharp vision for objects directly ahead of us. Macular damage can make one’s straight ahead vision look dark, distorted, or blurry.

Does age-related macular degeneration lead to blindness?

This type of degeneration does not necessarily lead to blindness. However, when a person loses the ability to see clearly when looking straight ahead, it can be difficult to maintain the same quality of life, due to an inability to see faces, operate a vehicle, read, write, cook, make home repairs, or enjoy certain hobbies, such as golf or knitting. A Santa Ana eye doctor can detect if you have age-related macular degeneration, and to what extent you can expect it to limit your activities.

Who is most at risk for age-related macular degeneration?

It can happen for those aged 50 or over, but is more common for individuals in any of these at-risk groups:

  • People with a family history of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Smokers can be at double the risk of being affected.
  • Caucasians

Can anything reduce the risk of experiencing age-related macular degeneration?

Risk and progression of the disease can be reduced by making these lifestyle choices:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain low cholesterol levels.
  • Maintain normal blood pressure.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet that emphasises fish and leafy vegetables.

How can age-related macular degeneration be detected?

Very often, the early and intermediate stages do not present symptoms. During those stages, detection is only possible with a detailed eye exam. The exam may include these tests:

  • Dilation of the pupils. Using this method, a Santa Ana eye doctor can use a magnifying lens to check your optic nerve and retina for symptoms.
  • Distance test. Using an eye chart, a Santa Ana eye doctor can measure how well you are able to see at various distances.
  • View an Amsler grid. Because age-related macular degeneration adversely affects the central vision, viewing the lines of an Amsler grid can detect if the patient is having problems seeing in that area.
  • Optical coherence tomography imagery. This test uses light waves to obtain extremely high resolution images of your eyes. The test is painless and an eye doctor Santa Ana patients trust can explain how it works in more detail.
  • Fluorescein angiogram. A Santa Ana eye doctor injects fluorescent dye into your arm. As the dye passes through the eye’s blood vessels, the doctor takes photos. This allows him or her to detect leaking blood vessels, which are often present in those with age-related macular degeneration.

Contact Retina Associates of Orange County Today

To make an appointment with a Santa Ana eye doctor or to discuss your concerns about age-related macular degeneration.