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Macular Degeneration

At Minnesota Retina Associates we offer an array of macular degeneration treatments to help you maintain a high quality of life. Patient-centered with a specialty focus on medical retinal care, we diagnose and manage macular degeneration from its earliest stages to slow the disease progression and help to preserve your vision.

What is AMD?

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of significant visual acuity loss in people over age 50. It is a deterioration of the retina and choroid that can lead to a substantial loss of central vision.

With AMD you can still see things using your peripheral (side) vision. While there is no cure for AMD, the team at Minnesota Retina Associates has treatment options aimed at preserving, and even recovering, vision.

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What are the Types of AMD?

Dry AMD

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Dry AMD is the most common form of AMD, making up about 80% of all AMD cases. Dry AMD occurs when the macula gets thinner with age, allowing tiny clumps of protein to grow on the macula. There is currently no way to treat dry AMD, but specific vitamins and minerals can help slow the progression of the disease.

COMING SOON! FDA approval is expected on a dry AMD treatment in 2023.

Wet AMD

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Wet AMD is both less common and more serious than dry AMD. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina, and bleed or leak resulting in a decrease in central vision or distortion in the vision. Wet AMD cannot be cured, but its progression may be blocked with the use of intravitreal anti-VEGF injections. These injections may preserve, and even recover, vision.

Chart Illustrating a Healthy Eye vs one with a degenerated macula

What are the symptoms of AMD?

  • Blurred or fuzzy vision
  • Dark or empty areas in the center of your vision
  • Vision distortion where straight lines appear wavy
  • Seeing spots

What are the risk factors for AMD?

  • Over 50 years of age
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Being overweight
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart disease
  • A family history of AMD

How is Macular Degeneration Managed?

Patients with very early AMD symptoms should schedule regular eye exams to ensure proper management of their AMD. Many cases of AMD do not progress to severe vision loss with proper management. Minnesota Retina Associates can help manage your AMD to protect your vision.

Management for Wet AMD at Minnesota Retina Associates include:

  • Regular vision monitoring – some patients may need to schedule visits every 3-6 months depending on severity of the disease.
  • Intra-vitreal injections – The injection of anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) medications into the vitreous cavity (retina location) can be a highly effective treatment for advanced macular degeneration. These injections are done in our Golden Valley Bloomington and Hutchinson offices. Most patients require a series of injections, so they require periodic monitoring to evaluate when additional treatments with the anti-VEGF agents are needed.
  • We look forward to offering our patients a soon-to-be FDA approved treatment for dry macular degeneration in 2023.

FAQ: Macular Degeneration

While the exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown, we do know that things like family history, smoking, poor diet, or high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing the disease.

Understandably, one of the most common questions our AMD patients have is, “Will I go blind?”

AMD affects the center part of your vision and can cause blurriness/distortion or even central vision loss in some patients. However, peripheral vision is typically spared so complete vision loss or blindness does not generally occur. Disease progression is different in each patient. In some patients, the disease progresses very slowly and barely affects vision. In others, it can progress more rapidly and cause significant central vision loss. 

An eye doctor can diagnose age-related macular degeneration during your annual dilated eye exam. At Minnesota Retina Associates we offer state-of-the-art retinal imaging to obtain detailed views of your retina and monitor changes over time. Some modalities used at our offices in Bloomington and Golden Valley include: optical coherence tomography/angiography (OCT/OCTA), fundus autofluorescence (FAF), and fluorescein angiography (FA).

To slow the progression of macular degeneration, the retina doctors at Minnesota Retina Associates recommend vitamin supplements (AREDS2) for intermediate and advanced forms, eating a healthy diet, refraining from smoking, and protecting eyes from UV exposure by using proper eyewear.

The progression of Wet AMD may be halted with the use of intravitreal anti-VEGF injections. For many patients, these injections help preserve, and even recover, vision.

locations

Serving Our Community

Serving patients in Bloomington and Golden Valley areas.

Golden Valley

Minnesota Retina Associates
8501 Golden Valley Rd., Suite 200
Golden Valley, MN 55427

Bloomington

Minnesota Retina Associates
9801 Dupont Ave S., Suite 110
Bloomington, MN 55431

Hutchinson

Minnesota Retina Associates
(At Regional Eye Center)
1455 Montreal St SE
Hutchinson, MN 55350

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