Macular Degeneration Fort Myers, FL

Macular Degeneration Fort Myers, FLThe number one cause of vision loss in people ages 50 and older in America is age-related macular degeneration. Fort Myers, FL is lucky to have a renowned retina surgeon, Dr. Sunil M. Malkani, available at Malkani Retina Center to help combat this condition. Dr. Malkani has published his research on macular degeneration – a condition for which there is currently no medically proven treatment – in medical journals around the nation.

As an investigator for rhuFab V2 from Genentech in the treatment of macular degeneration, Dr. Malkani understands the importance of staying on top of developing medical trends to better understand the causes and potential solutions for this vision-loss epidemic. Macular degeneration is a complex problem scientists are still working to fully understand. Dr. Malkani and his Retina Center is at the cutting-edge of macular degeneration treatments, and their work offers patients their best chance of halting its effects on vision. Find out more about Dr. Malkani.

Understanding Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that occurs when the cells in the macula, or the central retina, naturally deteriorate due to age. This deterioration is the result of the hardening of arteries in the retina. In turn, this leads to oxygen and nutrient deprivation the retina needs to function properly. When the retinal tissues lose these important elements, it causes permanent loss of central vision.

The majority of cases of macular degeneration in Fort Myers, FL and around the world are the dry type, also known as atrophic or non-neovascular macular degeneration. There are sadly no medically proven treatments for dry macular degeneration. Fort Myers, FL patients, however, can come to Malkani Retina Center for the best chance of catching this problem early on. Signs of macular degeneration include drusen, or small, yellow deposits that form within the retina, as well as loss of retina pigmentation. Routine professional eye exams and at-home tests like the Amsler grid can help you catch dry macular degeneration before it causes too much vision loss.

Symptoms of this condition have to do with loss of vision in the central retina, or the macula. By the time a patient experiences vision loss due to macular degeneration, the condition is already in an intermediate or late stage. Most people do not suffer vision loss with early age-related macular degeneration in Fort Myers, FL, which is why it’s important to test for the condition with regular eye exams, especially if the patient has one or more risk factor. The known risk factors for developing macular degeneration are:

  • This disease most often occurs in people aged 55 and older. Your risk increases with age.
  • Caucasian people develop macular generation more often than Hispanics, Latinos, and African Americans.
  • People with macular degeneration in their family histories are more likely to develop this disease themselves.
  • Smoking doubles the risk of macular degeneration. Good nutrition and exercise may reduce the risk of this disease, as can protecting the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Doing everything you can to prevent macular degeneration, including routine eye exams at Malkani Retina Center, gives you the best chance of avoiding permanent vision loss. Learn more about macular degeneration and our Center’s recommended treatments for this difficult condition.

Diagnosis for Macular Degeneration

Diagnosing early macular degeneration in Fort Myers, FL requires a professional eye exam, in which the physician sees medium-sized drusen beneath the retina. If a doctor diagnoses you with macular degeneration, here are questions you should ask:

  1. Is it wet or dry macular degeneration? Do I have it in both eyes?
  2. Do I have early, intermediate, or advanced AMD?
  3. Will my AMD progress, worsening my vision over time?
  4. Do I have any treatment options? If so, what are they?
  5. Can lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise halt my AMD?
  6. Are my children at risk? Should they have their eyes examined?
  7. How can I stay independent with AMD?
  8. Am I legally blind? Can I register with the Commission for the Blind?

The answers to these questions will help you understand and live with your macular degeneration. Fort Myers, FL patients can trust Dr. Malkani and his team to answer any and all questions honestly and comprehensively. Every case is different, and the specifics of your case will vary from other cases.

Treatment for Macular Degeneration in Fort Myers, FL

As stated above, there is unfortunately no known treatment for dry macular degeneration. If you suffer from wet macular degeneration in Fort Myers, FL, however, Dr. Malkani will likely recommend the newest preferred treatment to stop abnormal blood vessel development: photodynamic therapy (PDT). During PDT, a retina surgeon injects a light-sensitive solution called verteporfin into the patient’s bloodstream. This medicine gathers in the abnormal blood vessels causing the degeneration. Then, the surgeon shines laser light into the eye to activate the verteporfin, create blood clots, and block the vessels.

By successfully sealing the blood vessels, this therapy slows down the buildup of fluid beneath the retina, the growth of damaging scar tissue, and central vision loss. It cannot restore vision that has already been lost due to macular degeneration, but it can prevent further retinal damage and eyesight loss. PDT only takes about 20 minutes. Patients must avoid direct sunlight for two to five days after treatment, and use dark sunglasses to protect the eyes.

Photodynamic therapy is less damaging than laser photocoagulation, which is the other available treatment for preventing further vision loss from macular degeneration. Laser photocoagulation is a type of surgery that uses a laser beam to burn small areas of the retina and abnormal blood vessels. The burns create scar tissue that seals the vessels and prevents further leakage under the macula. This form of treatment has the same outcomes as PDT and is a painless procedure. If you require treatment for macular degeneration, Fort Myers, FL patients can call (239) 324-4888 or contact us online to set up an appointment at the Malkani Retina Center.

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