My wife, who is 37 years old, just went for an eye check, and they noticed some white spots in her left eye. The doctor told her that she has macular degeneration, but I thought that macular degeneration spots were yellow and not white. She is going to see a specialist now, but do you have any idea as to what eye condition my wife might have if it is not macular degeneration? My wife’s 68-year-old father also has macular degeneration that started a few years ago. [ 09/26/11 ]
Yellow-white spots, called drusen, are a common finding in macular degeneration. A type of drusen can also be found in eyes without age-related macular degeneration, and these particular drusen are considered normal. Age-related macular degeneration typically does not present before 55 years of age, so your wife may have these drusen. The white spots could be from a variety of other processes, some harmless and others very concerning. Please speak to your eye doctor about the white spot finding and its significance.
Is the optical coherence tomography (OCT) test painful, risky, or uncomfortable? What should I expect to happen during the test? Is it crucial to a diagnosis? What is the angio test? [ 09/24/11 ]
The OCT test has minimal risk and is very comfortable. You will place your chin on a chin rest and be asked to look at a light. The actual OCT picture taking process should take less than a minute, and involves a dim light focused in your retina. An OCT test is a valuable ancillary test for management of a variety of retinal diseases and will be very helpful to your retina specialist.
The fluorescein angiography test involves the injection of a dye into your veins to monitor for any problems of the retinal blood vessels. The procedure involves a small needle stick. Side effects to the dye or procedure are rare, but most commonly involve nausea. Very rarely someone can have an allergic reaction to the dye which can be life threatening. Please speak to your retina specialist about the risks of any study prior to undergoing the actual test.
I have had the wet type of macular degeneration for seven years. Due to pneumonia and various other illnesses, I have been prescribed antibiotics several times. I am wondering if antibiotics can cause macular degeneration to worsen. Also, I had two stents put in my heart four years ago and I take Plavix daily. I am also worried that this medication will hasten the progression of my macular degeneration. Thank you for your input. [ 09/22/11 ]
No definitive link has been established between progression of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and antibiotics or Plavix. Smoking, certain dietary factors, and genetic factors have been linked to ARMD progression, however. Please speak to your ophthalmologist to find out if any of these factors are applicable to you, and what steps you can take to minimize the progression of this eye disorder.
Can I take two tablespoons of olive oil and the AREDS II vitamins on a daily basis? Is taking two tablespoons of oil too much? [ 09/15/11 ]
Olive oil has not been established as treatment or preventative for any ocular condition such as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Please speak to your primary doctor if you are using olive for other medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease. The AREDS II vitamin formulation is still undergoing study, and no definitive benefit has yet been proven for patients with ARMD. The AREDS I formulation was proven beneficial only for a select group of patients with ARMD, so please ensure that you speak to your eye physician about any vitamin supplementation you might be considering for ARMD or any other eye condition.
In the 1990s, my husband had frontal and bilateral surgery on his sinuses due to excess fluid. He has recently been diagnosed with macular degeneration. Is there any evidence that links sinus surgery to the development of macular degeneration? [ 09/10/11 ]
No definite link has been established between age related macular degeneration (ARMD) and sinus surgery. Though the cause of ARMD is not completely known, the current belief is that genetics and inflammatory processes contribute to development and progression of ARMD.
I am a 73-year-old female with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), who was diagnosed in 2004. A recent deterioration of vision brought me to my ophthalmologist and subsequently to a retinal specialist who diagnosed pigment epithelial detachment. Are there clinical trials being conducted for this particular problem? What are the odds that this will progress to wet AMD? [ 09/08/11 ]
Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) has two forms: wet and dry. A pigment epithelial detachment typically signifies that you have the wet subtype. Pigment epithelial detachments can occur for other much less common reasons, such as central serous retinopathy, inflammatory disorders, or lack of blood flow to the back part of the eye. Please clarify with your retinal specialist if your pigment epithelial detachment is from ARMD, and if you have the wet subtype of ARMD. Many clinical trials are ongoing for wet ARMD.
I took my 6 year old to the optometrist because she was complaining that her distance vision was blurry. He told me that it was not a refractive problem, but rather an issue with the macula. He said that the macula forms a “perfect picture” and that hers was just not able to do so. He said it was genetic, not an emergency, and then set up an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist. This information comes at you so fast that it is hard to take it all in at once. I can't seem to find anything about the macula that doesn't sound like a very serious disease, so I am very worried. I'm scared and confused, so I am hoping that you can you offer some advice. Thank you for your time. [ 08/31/11 ]
The macula is the center of the retina, and responsible for clarity of central vision. If your child has a genetic disease of the retina, he or she may have reduced clarity of central vision now or later in life. Whether this vision reduction is minor or major, stationary or progressive, will depend on the exact disease. Many people with genetic diseases of the macula live very full and productive lives. Your pediatric ophthalmologist can help determine the exact disease, and provide a referral to a physician specializing in ocular genetic diseases.
I am 61 years old and have been diagnosed with intermediate macular degeneration. My doctor wants me to take the AREDS formula, but I cannot tolerate it because it causes bruising and broken blood vessels. Also, I'm afraid of the “toxic” levels of some of the AREDS ingredients. My doctor gets very mad at me when I say I cannot tolerate the formula. Which of the vitamins in AREDS could be causing the bruising? My grandfather was a bleeder. Thank you for your help. [ 08/29/11 ]
You are correct in thinking that the AREDS trial used higher than normal levels of some vitamins. The most common side effects during the trial were slightly increased rates of urinary tract diseases, anemia, and tooth discoloration in patients using the AREDS vitamins. Increased bleeding or bruising rates were not reported in patients taking the AREDS compared to control group patients, however. The AREDS vitamins can also interact with other medicines you may be taking to cause the increased bruising and bleeding. Please discuss this matter of increased bleeding with both your primary care physician and ophthalmologist; it is possible that you may have a hereditary bleeding disorder than requires medical evaluation.