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Bissell Eye Care - macular degenerationImagine the area around the center of your vision becoming fuzzy and then that fuzziness continues to worsen until you are unable to see clearly. You no longer can function independently and are unable to perform the tasks of daily living such as reading prescription labels, driving or preparing food. That is what happens to people who have Macular degeneration. You may ask what Macular Degeneration is, how can it be cured, or how can I help prevent it?

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the irreversible destruction of the central area of the retina, known as the macula. It can cause a patient to lose sharpness in vision making it difficult to see fine details. As the disease progresses it can become increasingly difficult for a person to be able to read drive or even recognize faces. Macular Degeneration is most common in people over the age of 60 and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment in the world. There are two forms of this disease, dry and wet macular degeneration. While dry macular degeneration accounts for 90% of diagnoses, wet macular degeneration accounts for 90% of legal blindness. The wet form is considered advanced macular degeneration and is always preceded by the dry form.


There are several tests that can be performed by eye care professional that specialize in low vision. A dilated eye exam, including a visual acuity test, are tests that an eye specialist will perform to diagnose dry macular degeneration. If wet macular degeneration is suspected they may also perform fluorescein angiography, where the eye specialist uses a dye to detect blood vessels that are leaking. It is important to be seen and tested regularly by an eye care specialist.

Currently there is no cure for dry macular degeneration. If a patient is in the intermediate stage of macular degeneration, a high dosage formula of zinc and antioxidant vitamins may be used to help delay and or possibly prevent the disease from progressing to the advanced stage. Research into treatment for this disease is hopeful to help find a means of prevention and reversal, but have not been able to find one as of yet!


While there is no 100% sure way of preventing this disease, there are measures that you can take to help reduce the risk of developing it. The first course of action is to schedule regular eye exams to help in the early detection of macular degeneration and other diseases such as glaucoma.
Studies show that individuals who exercise, eat leafy green foods eating a balanced diet and who maintain a healthy blood pressure reduce their risk of developing macular degeneration; while smoking can greatly increase your risk of developing this disease.

As a member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS), Dr. Bissell has undergone extensive training to treat patients with low vision. You have one set of eyes, make it a priority to take care of them. Call our office today to schedule your exam.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.