Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Macular Degeneration Solutions

Is everyday life suddenly looking a little blurry? Are detailed objects or fine print harder to make out? If so, you’re not alone. Macular degeneration, often called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a progressive eye condition that affects 10 million people in the U.S. While there is no complete cure, many patients can benefit from Visionary Eye Doctors’ low vision rehabilitation. Keep reading to learn more about the warning signs and treatment options we offer.

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Macular Degeneration Solutions in DC + MD

What Exactly Is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) results from the deterioration of the retina’s central portion, otherwise known as the macula. The macula is responsible for focusing central vision, used for everyday tasks like reading, driving, or recognizing faces. As the macula becomes more damaged, it becomes harder to see objects in fine detail or read smaller print.

While macular degeneration rarely results in complete blindness, it can cause dim images or black holes at the center of your vision, leaving only peripheral eyesight intact. For example, if you look at a clock, you may not see the hands but the numbers may still be clear.

Understanding the Two Types of AMD 

There are two primary forms of macular degeneration: dry (atrophic) and wet (exudative). Approximately 80% to 90% of AMD cases fall under the “dry” category, while only 10% to 20% are “wet.”


Dry macular degeneration typically begins with thinning of the retina (common with age). Tiny yellow deposits of protein, called drusen, form at the retina base. This causes patients to lose central vision slowly. It’s important to note that while dry AMD can progress into wet AMD, it won’t always be the case.


This type is far less common but much more severe. With wet AMD, retinal thinning and degeneration become powerful enough to cause fragile, abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina. These new vessels can leak blood or other fluids that can scar the macula, causing more rapid and significant vision loss.

Causes and Risk Factors of Macular Degeneration

While the exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown, several risk factors are to be aware of, including: 

  • Age: The risk of AMD at age 50 is 2%. That rate jumps to 37% by age 75.
  • Family history: Individuals with an immediate family member with AMD are 300 times more likely to experience the condition.
  • Genetics: There is a strong association between the development of AMD and the presence of variant genes, including complement factor H (CFH) and complement factor B.
  • Smoking: Smokers are 5 to 8 times more likely to develop AMD than nonsmokers.
  • Race: Caucasians and patients with light-colored skin and eyes are more likely to develop AMD than darker-pigmented patients.
  • Obesity: High blood pressure and high cholesterol increase the risk of AMD.
  • UV exposure: Sunglasses with 100% UV protection can reduce your risk of AMD.
  • Diet: Diets high in saturated fats (i.e., meat, butter, cheese) and low in vitamin C, vitamin E, and lutein increase your risk for AMD.

AMD is the leading cause of severe eyesight loss among people 50 years old and older. Since it does not hurt and comes on with age, people often don’t realize they have it. That’s why it is critical to keep up with routine eye exams with Visionary Eye Doctors every year. We can look for early signs of AMD before you experience vision problems.

To schedule an eye exam in Rockville, Damascus, or Washington, DC, to test for macular degeneration, call (301) 591-1763. You can also schedule an appointment online.

Diagnosing Macular Degeneration

Dry Macular Degeneration diagram and Wet Macular Degeneration diagram

If you notice any signs of macular degeneration, the experts at Visionary Eye Doctors can examine you for a diagnosis. During your examination, imaging scans of the retina called optical coherence tomography are performed, providing detailed imaging of the retina and macula.

We may also perform a dye test called fluorescein angiography. A yellow dye (called fluorescein) is injected into your vein. This dye travels through the body and into the eyes. A special camera is used to highlight abnormal new vascular growth or leakage to help identify wet AMD.

How Can I Tell if I Have AMD?

Any signs of vision change should never be ignored, especially if you are over the age of 50. They should be addressed by an ophthalmologist immediately. That being said, macular degeneration does not have many symptoms in its early stages and may not be very noticeable. An early sign is faded or distorted vision, particularly when straight lines begin to look wavy. Other warning signs include dark, blurry areas in the center of your vision or even a change in perception of color. Peripheral vision is not affected with macular degeneration.

Remember, treating AMD as early as possible can help slow the progression. We recommend using an Amsler grid to monitor your vision.

In good light and wearing any glasses you normally use, cover one eye and look directly at the dot in the middle of the grid with the other. Switch and test the other eye in the same manner. If any part of the grid looks wavy, blurry, or less sharp, then it’s time to reach out to a professional.

Dry AMD Treatments

There is currently no treatment for dry AMD, but you can take steps to slow the progression of dry AMD, including:

  • Daily eye vitamin intake (called AREDS Eye Vitamins)
  • Wearing sunglasses with 100% UV protection
  • Eating a Mediterranean diet
  • Daily intake of green leafy vegetables
  • Daily exercise

Studies funded by the National Institutes of Health indicate patients with intermediate and advanced dry AMD can reduce their risk of vision loss by at least 25% by maintaining high levels of antioxidants and zinc. Studies also suggest supplements do not provide significant benefit to patients with minimal or early dry AMD. Nutritional supplements do not prevent the initial onset of AMD or improve vision already lost to AMD.

Wet AMD Treatments

There have been some exciting advancements in the treatment of wet AMD. The most effective has been intravitreal anti-VEGF injections, which are repeated regularly. These injections reduce macular leakage and abnormal vascular growth, which helps to slow vision loss. In about 50% of patients, this treatment even improves vision.

The drugs currently used are:

  • Avastin
  • Lucentis
  • Eylea

Another option is laser treatment. This can help seal the leaky vessels, but it cannot repair the damage that has already occurred.

Why Choose Us?

Take the next step in macular degeneration care with Visionary Eye Doctors. We understand the physical and emotional hardships that can accompany an AMD diagnosis and are here for you every step of the way. Our goal is to protect your vision as much as possible while helping you regain your quality of life. 

Count on our board-certified macular degeneration experts to:

  • Diagnose macular degeneration
  • Explain your treatment options
  • Provide information on living with macular degeneration 

Learn more about macular degeneration and treatment options from Visionary Eye Doctors by calling our office today at (301) 591-1763. You can also schedule an appointment online.

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Our surgeons are familiar with all the treatment options available today — from the latest advancement in femtosecond lasers and the latest in premium IOLs. This innovative technology is revolutionizing specialized eye surgery and our patients’ ability to see better than ever.

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Surgeon Expertise

Our board-certified surgeons are highly experienced and highly skilled, and they have refined techniques paired with the highest level of patient care.

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Results Matter

Our surgeons are committed to delivering exceptional outcomes and helping each patient achieve their desired visual goals. Our surgeons improve your full range of vision with the goal to minimize and hopefully eliminate dependence on glasses with our premium lens options.

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Integrated Surgery for Complicated Vision Cases

Often, our macular degeneration patients may have other vision or medical issues, such as astigmatism, glaucoma, diabetes, or previous surgeries. No worries — our surgeons with their vast experience, expertise, and specialized training provide our patients the confidence of knowing their complex conditions are carefully evaluated prior to any procedure.

Thinking You May Need Macular Degeneration Treatment in Washington, DC or the Surrounding Areas?

Take the next step. Our goal is to improve your full range of vision, regain your quality of life, and minimize or eliminate your dependence on glasses. Call us today or request to schedule a macular degeneration consultation.

Request a Macular Degeneration Consultation

The first step in determining your candidacy for any procedure is to schedule a consultation and experience our comprehensive eye exam. This is the most complete eye exam available today and includes a consultation with one of our experienced surgeons. Utilizing advanced diagnostic technology, our surgeons will not only evaluate your candidacy for a procedure for but will look at the overall health of your eyes and establish a long-term plan for your best vision.

Please help us provide you with the best experience by answering a few quick questions, and one of our surgical counselors will assist you. If you are a current patient and/or have a medical concern or question, please contact us directly at (301) 591-1763.

Request your consultation today!

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