Experts estimate that about 11 million Americans have age-related macular degeneration. Every year, macular degeneration causes more vision loss than cataracts and glaucoma combined. At Russell Micah Levine, MD in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, ophthalmologist Russell Levine, MD, works with people of all ages to diagnose and manage diseases of the retina, including macular degeneration. To schedule your appointment, call the New York City office or book online today.
Macular degeneration is a common eye-related health problem that may cause a loss of central vision. It occurs due to deterioration of the macula. The macula is a small area in the center of your retina.
Dr. Levine specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of both wet and dry macular degeneration.
Wet macular degeneration only occurs in about 10-15% of cases. This type of macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels form beneath the retina and macula. As wet macular degeneration progresses, the blood vessels bleed and leak fluid, creating a dark spot in the center of your vision.
Dry macular degeneration occurs when small spots of a protein called drusen form underneath the macula. As more drusen collects, it damages your retina, resulting in vision loss.
The symptoms of macular degeneration vary depending on the type of macular degeneration you have.
Symptoms of dry macular degeneration include:
The symptoms of wet macular degeneration include:
Contrary to popular belief, neither type of macular degeneration causes total blindness. The disease affects your central line of vision, leaving your peripheral vision untouched. For patients severely affected by macular degeneration and other causes of low vision, Dr. Levine can help you find vision rehabilitation (low vision) resources. Sometimes vision rehabilitation can greatly improve a patient’s ability to function with their decreased vision.
To diagnose macular degeneration, Dr. Levine conducts a comprehensive eye exam, reviews your medical history, and asks you about any unusual symptoms you’re experiencing.
Next, he tests your central field of vision. During this test, you look at a grid. If any of the lines appear broken or warped, it indicates that you may be at risk.
If necessary, Dr. Levine might order additional tests such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fundus photography. These tests allow him to look at your retina and the blood vessels at the back of your eye.
If Dr. Levine determines that you need additional testing such as fluorescein angiography, or additional treatment such as injections, he may refer you to one of his trusted retina specialist colleagues for a consultation.
Treatment for macular degeneration depends on the severity of your symptoms and their effect on your quality of life. Dr. Levine educates you about your eye condition and develops a custom care plan that prevents further progression of the disease.
If you have dry macular degeneration, Dr. Levine might recommend lifestyle and diet modification, specially formulated vitamins, or working with a low vision rehabilitation specialist.
If you have wet macular degeneration, Dr. Levine might prescribe eye drops to stop the formation of new blood vessels. You might also benefit from photodynamic therapy during which he uses a special laser to close up leaking blood vessels at the back of your eye.
To explore your treatment options for macular degeneration, schedule an appointment at Russell Micah Levine, MD. Call or text the office and speak with a friendly team member or book a consultation online today.