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Macular Degeneration Specialist

Phillip C Wu, MD -  - General Ophthalmology

Suburban Eyes Clinic

Phillip C Wu, MD

General Ophthalmology located in Evanston, IL & Ravenswood, Chicago, IL

Macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision decline and loss, accounts for the vision decline in about 11 million Americans. At Suburban Eye Clinic in the Ravenswood area of Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, Phillip Wu, MD, and the team of ophthalmology experts provide advanced retinal imaging to diagnose your macular degeneration and help you manage it to slow your vision decline. Book your vision exam at Suburban Eye Clinic by phone or online today.

Macular Degeneration Q&A

What is macular degeneration?

Your eye consists of several parts, one of which is called the retina. Your retina is the tissue that lines the back of your eye on the inside. 

While your entire retina is sensitive to light, a very small part of it called the macula allows you to see a clear, detailed image when you focus your eyes. Macular degeneration is a condition that occurs when your macula is damaged. If you have macular degeneration, your peripheral vision is still intact, but your central vision is impaired.

What causes macular degeneration?

Experts aren’t certain what causes macular degeneration, but there are several factors related to your lifestyle, environment, and genetic makeup that put you at a higher risk. You have an elevated risk of developing macular degeneration if you:

  • Smoke
  • Are overweight
  • Are 50 or older
  • Eat lots of saturated fat
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Have family members with macular degeneration

To reduce your chances of developing macular degeneration or losing your vision because of it, you should try to lead a healthy lifestyle with a heart-healthy diet and manage any chronic conditions affecting your health.

Which type of macular degeneration do I have?

There are two types of macular degeneration, and the team at Suburban Eye Clinic can tell you which you have after a thorough examination. You might have:

Dry macular degeneration

About 80% of people with macular degeneration have dry macular degeneration. It occurs when your macula naturally gets thinner with age and develops small masses of proteins called drusen. Your vision declines slowly with macular degeneration, but you can further slow your vision loss by catching the condition early and changing your lifestyle. 

Wet macular degeneration

Wet macular degeneration is the less common, more severe form of the condition. It causes faster vision loss and develops when you grow abnormal blood vessels in your eye. Over time, these blood vessels can leak blood and fluid onto your macula. Wet macular degeneration almost always develops from dry macular degeneration.

How is macular degeneration treated?

Your provider at Suburban Eye Clinic uses retinal imaging techniques like fluorescein angiography or optical coherence tomography (OCT) to view your retina, diagnose macular degeneration, and track its development. 

There is no way to treat dry macular degeneration, but your provider at Suburban Eye Clinic might recommend certain nutritional supplements to take, like vitamin C or vitamin E, to help preserve your vision. 

If you have wet macular degeneration, your provider might prescribe medications called anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs. They help slow leakage from abnormal blood vessels and even reduce the number of them in your eyes. Laser surgery may also be an option for your treatment if you have wet macular degeneration.

To find out if your vision decline is due to macular degeneration, call Suburban Eye Clinic, or schedule an appointment online today.