For over 20 years, Dr. Brian J. Courtright, O.D., has had the honor and privilege of being your premier family optometrist in Prescott Valley, AZ. One condition he’s worked with extensively is known as macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness worldwide.

Macular Degeneration 101: Causes & Symptoms

At the inside of the back of your eye, there is a thin tissue called the retina. Retinal tissue contains millions of specialized cells that are important for gathering visual information so that it can be sent to your brain’s visual processing centers. The visual information collected by your retinas are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerves, which connects to the retina at a central spot in the retina known as the macula.

Macular degeneration, then, as the name suggests, is a condition in which the macula gradually breaks down over time. At first, there are no symptoms–a person may have macular degeneration for a long time before noticing anything amiss with their vision. Once symptoms do develop, a person will typically notice that the center of their visual field appears blurry and that they have a hard time reading or performing other tasks that require seeing fine detail. In most cases, a person’s peripheral vision remains intact.

So, why might this happen? Macular degeneration is often referred to as “AMD,” which stands for age-related macular degeneration. It seems that advancing age is one of the greatest risk factors for developing this condition. Additional risk factors include being overweight, smoking, having light-colored irises, being female, and having a history of long-term sun exposure (UV radiation). These and other factors lead to a gradual and irreversible breakdown of the retinal and macular tissue (known as “dry” type AMD), which may be associated with small yellow growths (called drusen) behind the retina. Less commonly, many small and leaky blood vessels may grow behind the retina (called “wet” type AMD), leading to scarring and tissue damage.

Macular degeneration isn’t curable–but it is manageable. Our optometrist in Prescott Valley can help you lower your risk for developing this disease, or help slow the disease progress, by helping you make important nutritional and lifestyle changes. He also can provide you with valuable low vision services, including prescription eyewear, to maximize your vision at every stage of the disease.

Call Our Prescott Valley Eye Doctor Today!

Keep a close eye on your future with help from our Prescott Valley eye doctor, Dr. Courtright. He can help you prevent or manage your macular degeneration or any other chronic condition affecting your eyes so that you’ll have maximal vision year after year. For state-of-the-art and affordable macular degeneration treatment in Prescott Valley, schedule an eye exam at our optometry clinic today by calling (928) 771-9939. We look forward to meeting with you!