How to Find the Best Doctor for Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration (MD) is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. It occurs when the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp central vision, deteriorates.  While there is no cure for MD, early diagnosis and treatment can significantly slow down its progression and help you maintain your quality of life. If you suspect you might have MD, finding the right eye care specialist is crucial.

macular degeneration treatments and care

Understanding Eye Care Professionals

Two types of eye care professionals play a key role in diagnosing and managing MD:

  • Ophthalmologist: An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, and surgery of eye diseases and conditions. They receive extensive medical training and can perform eye exams, prescribe medications and perform intricate eye surgeries.
  • Optometrist: An optometrist is a doctor of optometry who focuses on examining the eyes for vision problems, prescribing glasses and contact lenses, and managing certain eye diseases.

For macular degeneration, you’ll likely need to see an ophthalmologist, particularly a retina specialist who has expertise in disorders of the retina. Find an eye doctor with a full team that can support all of your needs. 

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

There are two main types of macular degeneration:

  • Dry MD: The most common form, characterized by the gradual thinning of the macula and the buildup of yellow deposits called drusen.
  • Wet MD: A less common but more severe form marked by the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula, which can leak fluid and blood, causing rapid vision loss.

Early symptoms of MD may be subtle or nonexistent. However, common signs include:

  • Blurred central vision 
  • Difficulty seeing details
  • Straight lines appearing wavy or distorted
  • Dark or empty spots in your central vision
  • Need for brighter light when reading or doing close-up work

The Importance of Early Treatment

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it’s essential to get your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist promptly. Early detection allows for treatment options that can help slow the progression of macular degeneration and prevent further vision loss.  Left untreated, MD can lead to severe vision impairment and even blindness.

Treatments for Macular Degeneration

While MD currently has no cure, various treatment options are available, depending on the type and severity of your condition:

  • Anti-VEGF Injections: For wet MD, injections of medications that block the growth of abnormal blood vessels (vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF) are the standard treatment.
  • Laser Therapy: Laser therapy can be used to destroy abnormal blood vessels in cases of wet MD.
  • Nutritional Supplements: High-dose formulas of specific vitamins and minerals (AREDS 2 formula) have been shown to slow the progression of intermediate to advanced dry MD.
  • Low Vision Aids: Special magnifying devices and other assistive technologies can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Choosing the Best Doctor for Your Needs

Finding the right doctor for your macular degeneration care is paramount. Here’s what to consider:

  • Qualifications and Experience: Seek an ophthalmologist specializing in retinal diseases. They have the expertise to diagnose and manage MD effectively.
  • Accessibility and Location: Choose a doctor whose office is convenient and easily accessible.
  • Insurance Coverage: Verify your insurance coverage and choose a doctor who accepts your insurance plan.
  • Communication Style: Choose a doctor who communicates clearly, addresses your concerns, and involves you in treatment decisions.
  • Staff and Patient Education: A great staff makes a big difference in the overall care experience. A doctor that provides resources for understanding your condition and treatment options is ideal.

Tennessee Eye Care: Your Partner in MD Management

At Tennessee Eye Care, we understand the impact macular degeneration can have on your life. Our board-certified ophthalmologists have extensive experience in diagnosing and managing MD. We offer the latest diagnostic tools, advanced treatment options, and personalized care plans tailored to your specific needs. Our welcoming staff and commitment to patient education ensure that you’ll feel supported and informed throughout your journey. If you’re concerned about macular degeneration, contact Tennessee Eye Care to schedule your appointment today.

Need help? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.