Macular Degeneration

Diana Zabarko, OD -  - Optometrist

Avant Garde Vision Center

Diana Zabarko, OD

Optometrist located in Wayne, NJ

Vision is a critical ability; without it, we lose a significant amount of our independence, which today’s baby boomers and older seniors value highly. Macular degeneration is an eye condition that causes serious vision loss if not treated early. Call Dr. Diana Zabarko at Avant Garde Vision Center in Wayne, New Jersey, or book an appointment online to have your eyes checked.

Macular Degeneration Q & A

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is an age-related condition of the eye causing major, irreversible vision loss. It occurs when a part of the retina, called the macula, decays from wear and tear. Because it’s related to aging, the condition is often referred to as AMD, or age-related macular degeneration.   

There are two types of macular degeneration: wet and dry. Yellow deposits appear in the macula in wet macular degneration, while abnormal blood vessels develop in dry macular degeneration. Most patients have the dry form, but the dry form can lead to the more serious wet form.

How is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?

You may not even have symptoms when macular degeneration is in its early stages, but that’s when treatment is most effective, so it’s really important to have regular eye exams. During your visit to Dr. Zabarko, she conducts vision tests and uses equipment to look at your retina -- the part of your eye that processes and reflects light -- to see if there are any abnormalities found in degenerative eye disease.

She uses optical coherence tomography (OCT), a new technique to gain high resolution, cross-sectional views of your eyes. OCT shows Dr. Zabarko all of the blood vessels, lens, tissue, cornea, iris, optic nerve, and your retina “on the micron scale,” meaning she can see images a thousand times smaller than a millimeter. If she finds an abnormality, she refers you to a trusted retina specialist.

What is the Treatment for Macular Degeneration?

There is no cure for macular degeneration, but to slow the progress of this disease and prevent significant vision loss, Dr. Zabarko suggests attacking it on several fronts:

  • Carotenoids: A study by the National Institutes of Health shows that taking certain carotenoid supplements helps improve vision and slow macular degeneration. These carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin are also found in many brightly-colored vegetables and fruits. Examples of good sources are leafy green vegetables, corn, egg yolks, and goji berries.
  • Medications: A specialist prescribes medications that can stop blood vessels in the eye from leaking, a condition which causes a particular form of macular degeneration. New medications are a major advance in treating the condition.
  • Photodynamic Laser Therapy: A retina specialist injects a drug which breaks down the abnormal blood vessels causing your eye to leak. A laser further destroys those blood vessels.  
  • Low Vision Aids: If significant degeneration in your vision has already taken place, a specialist may prescribe special lenses that greatly enlarge your ability to see objects near you.