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Latest Questions and Answers
I have been diagnosed with early-stage dry macular degeneration. Sometimes, I have circles of light in the corners of eyes. What causes these bright halos? [ 11/28/12 ]

Intermittent bright halos can be caused from a variety of reasons. Common causes include dry eyes, cataracts, and optical aberrations from any glasses that are worn. Other rarer and more visually threatening causes also exist. Early-stage age-related macular degeneration typically does not cause patients to complain of bright halos. Please speak to your retina specialist about what might be causing your symptoms. Often this determination can be made after a clinical examination.

If one parent with brown eyes develops age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and the other parent with hazel eyes does not, does this mean (genetically speaking) that the risk of developing the disease may be higher in the children who inherited the brown eyes of the affected parent than the children who inherited the hazel eyes of the non-affected parent? [ 11/28/12 ]

Certain iris colors have not consistently been associated with higher risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). ARMD has a genetic component, and children of parents with ARMD are likely at higher risk of developing the disease themselves. The genetic component of ARMD does not follow Mendelian inheritance patterns, and also is likely not related to inheritance of iris color. A Mendelian inheritance pattern is defined by a condition resulting from two genes, one inherited from each patient, and these genes come randomly from each parent.

I wear contacts and recently noticed that my central vision is hazy/blurry in a circular shape in the right eye for near and distance vision. I can see the item behind the “spot,” but it is blurry, hazy, and reduced in intensity compared to the surrounding visual field. The spot is very small and in the exact center. I had an eye exam and the doctor didn't see any issues with my eye. When reading, the hazy effect disappears and I can read the text without the blurry/hazy effect. Are my symptoms related to focusing issues? Should I be taking any other action? [ 11/28/12 ]

A blurry central spot that is not present at certain times, can be one of many things from something simple such as a refractive error, cataract, or dry eyes, to issues that are more high risk, like age-related macular degeneration. A skilled eye exam can detect most of these conditions, so a normal eye exam is very reassuring. If your symptoms do not improve or continue to worsen, please request serial exams by your ophthalmologist. Symptoms of most diseases become more evident with time, even if not initially apparent.

My brother has wet macular degeneration and has been receiving eye injections, which are not helping. The doctor will perform laser treatment. If this doesn't work, how important is it that he keeps getting treatments? He is 75 years old and is under the impression that it doesn't matter if he receives treatments or not. [ 11/28/12 ]

The eye injections such as Lucentis, Avastin, and Eylea are the currently best available treatments to control wet age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). These injections have been shown in multiple clinical trials to prevent vision loss in 90 percent of patients, and to improve vision in about 30 – 40 percent. Your brother may not be in the 30 – 40 percent of patients that observe significant visual improvement with the eye injections. The eye injections do not cure wet ARMD, they only control it. Stopping injections thus could lead to the worsening of ARMD and possibly permanent loss of vision. Your brother should discuss the benefits and risks of stopping the injections with his retina specialist so that he can make an educated decision based on his specific situation.

Can a mini stroke cause macular degeneration? [ 11/28/12 ]

Mini strokes are not thought to have a causal relationship to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Both medical conditions are more common in older patients. Mini strokes are associated with blood vessel problems such as atherosclerosis; however, a link between atherosclerosis and ARMD has not been definitively been proven.

My father was diagnosed today with severe macular degeneration in one eye. His sight is very bad in that eye and is progressively getting worse. They said it has gone too far for any treatment to be effective. Do you have any suggestions or comments that could help? [ 11/28/12 ]

Injections into the eye are very effective for a certain group of patients with age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). If your retina specialist has determined that your father is not a candidate for eye injections, he may benefit from a visit to a low vision specialist. Such a specialist can help your father obtain vision training and assistive devices to maximize his remaining peripheral vision and independence.

I am 64 years of age and female. During the last few months, I've noticed, especially when viewing TV, that if a person has on dark jeans or slacks and their legs are separated in the middle, between both legs, I will see a dark “V.” If the person is close up, it will be a short “V” and if they person is in the background, it will be a long “V.” What could be causing this effect? I have recently noticed similar visual effects when viewing light colors as well. [ 11/28/12 ]

From this description of symptoms only and not exam findings, it is challenging to come up with a definitive diagnosis. Your visual symptoms could be from a range of conditions, some harmless, and others visually threatening. For these symptoms, please have an examination and appropriate testing from an ophthalmologist.

Is there any reason to be concerned that regular use of eReaders could exacerbate mild macular degeneration? [ 09/24/12 ]

There is no evidence that use of computers, tablets, or eReaders is harmful to people with dry or wet age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). In fact, patients with ARMD often benefit from the abilities of these electronic devices to provide increased contrast or enlargement of text. Low vision specialists often recommend such assistive devices when reading for patient with various eye diseases.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional; it is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy. All medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. Also, although we make every effort to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the posted information reflects the most up-to-date research.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

Last Review: 04/26/13

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