Macular degeneration

Dr. Michael J. Dunn, Optometrist

The Family Vision Center

2704 82 nd Street

Lubbock, Texas 79423


Copy right Michael J. Dunn, O.D. Jan. 2008

You and Macular Degeneration

The Facts:

1. 33% of the population 70 years of age or older will   develop macular degeneration.

2. 70% of the population is “not familiar at all with what macular degeneration is.”

3. 75% of the population does not know that there are treatments for macular degeneration.

4. Most people with macular degeneration don’t know that they can be helped to see better with low vision aids.

What is Macular Degeneration?

The macula is a spot about the size of the end of a ballpoint pen directly back in each of your eyes. It is the one area of the eye that gives us our sharp center vision.  All of the area surrounding that one tiny spot is for motion and shape.  Macular degeneration is a breakdown of circulation to the macular and as circulation begins to breakdown the macular loses nutrition causing the cells that give us fine detail (the 20/20 line) to be damaged.  There are two main types of macular degeneration.  There is wet macular degeneration, and there is dry macular degeneration.  Wet macular degeneration is caused when fluid leaks out of the blood vessels near the macula causing pools of blood or liquids damaging the macula.   With dry macular degeneration the circulation has gradually been shut off to the macular starving it for nutrition.

Factors That Increase the Risk of Macular Degeneration

  • Smoking
  • Excessive sun light
  • Insufficient intake of fruits and vegetables
  • High fat diet
  • Over 60 years of age
  • Family History of macular degeneration
  • Light colored eyes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Excess near or far sightedness
  • Eye surgery, especially cataract surgery
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration

There are three main treatments for wet macular degeneration: laser treatments, Visudyne, and injections into the eye.

Treatment for Dry Macular Degeneration


  • Good--Bananas, oranges, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, fish, olive oil

  • Bad—Beef, Pork, Poultry, fried foods, margarines and foods that contain trans-fatty acids,   pastries, and processed sugar

  • Supplements—Vitamin A (not for smokers), E, C, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, lutein, Omega 3 fish oil, and flax seed oil (for women only)

Eye Health vs. Eye Sight

When working with macular degeneration, many people confuse eye health with eyesight. The condition of macular degeneration involves eye health, while eyesight is related to how we see the objects around us.  We work with many people who have been told that no further treatment can be given for their eye health.  I explain to them that this does not mean that nothing can be done for their eyesight.  When glasses are not enough help, we can switch from glasses to low vision aids.  Low vision aids, range from handheld magnifiers like the kind that Sherlock Holmes would use to electronic visors that can be adjusted for brightness and magnification.  In this range of instruments, we can usually find a low vision aids that will do the vision tasks that the patient desires.

Types of Low Vision Aids

Two main uses for low vision aids:

Distance low vision aids are used for distance tasks such as driving, television, movies, faces at church, and grocery store aisle markers. Near low vision aids are used for such tasks as reading, handwork, writing checks, and doing crossword puzzles.

There are two main categories of low vision aids :

Handheld and head mounted

There are two main types of low vision aids:

Low vision aids that use optical lenses and low vision aids that use electronic lenses.

Which low vision aid is best for you?

We determine the best low vision aid for you by looking at the remaining vision that you have, the particular tasks that you want to do, your physical condition, and any financial imitations that you might have.

Please feel free to contact

Dr. Michael J. Dunn, O.D. if you have questions or need assistance with your vision.

Phone 806-745-2222

Fax 806-745-5486

e-mail [email protected][email protected]

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