Is it Safe to Have Cataract Surgery With Macular Degeneration?
While cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are not directly related, they are indirectly linked by the one major certainty we all face every day: the aging process. These two conditions begin to appear in one's 40s and 50s and then progress gradually throughout the mid-life years. Fortunately, a timely intervention can correct cataracts and significantly slow down AMD.
So, if you're suffering from visual woes, visit us in Palm Beach County at our practices in Lake Worth and Delray Beach, FL. Or, contact us today at Palm Beach Eye Center so we can help find the best solution for you.
What causes cataracts and macular degeneration, and are they related?
Cataracts appear in one's 40s, as the proteins of the eye's lens begin degrading and clumping together. These clumps form cloudy spots on the lens, blocking vision. As with cataracts, macular degeneration can be an age-related disease. Generally, it begins developing a bit later on, in one's 50s rather than 40s, and is most common in individuals over 60. This disorder occurs deeper in the light-receptive retina that resides at the back of the eye.
Macular refers to the macula, the central portion of the retina. The retina resides at the back of the eye, and in its center lies the macula. Even though this region is small, only about 5mm (or around one-fifth of an inch), it's vital for tip-top vision. It's full of photoreceptors, which can be considered the functional units of vision since these cells detect light. And the macula is rich with them, giving us our central vision and contributing a significant amount of color vision and perception of fine detail.
"Dry" age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs as the retinal tissue begins to thin with age. "Wet" AMD is a later-stage version that occurs as abnormal blood vessels grow in the retina or as blood vessels leak fluids into this region.
Unlike cataracts, AMD does not cause total blindness. However, it can be just as debilitating because the central loss in one's field of vision impairs their ability to drive, recognize faces, read, and perform all sorts of tasks that require clear central and close-up vision. So, if you’ve experienced these symptoms, please contact us at Palm Beach Eye Center in Lake Worth or Delray Beach, FL.
Is cataract surgery safe for individuals with macular degeneration?
The general consensus from the majority of studies and clinical practice is that it is safe to undergo cataract surgery if an individual also has AMD. Since both conditions progress with age, it is not too rare for an individual to be afflicted with both. Together, they rob individuals of their vision even faster than either could on its own, so it's vital to seek treatment. There is no cure for AMD, but there are a variety of treatments that may prove effective in slowing it down, including laser therapy, vitamin supplementation, and more.
Cataracts, though, can be removed entirely via laser-assisted cataract surgery, one of the safest, most-practiced procedures in the world. It's relatively simple, requiring only a tiny corneal incision made by a computer-guided laser. Laser or ultrasound energy then breaks down the cataracts and the lens, and then replaces it with a premium synthetic intraocular lens (IOL).
Contact us today to explore your options for clearer vision and improved eye health
If you have developed both cataracts and AMD, or if you're at risk, we recommend getting in touch with us at Palm Beach Eye Center as soon as possible. Timely treatment can help you enjoy the best outcome possible, with clearer vision and long-lasting eye health.
Don't wait until cataracts or AMD rob you of your functionality and get in the way of all the things you love doing. Our expert ophthalmological team is devoted to your well-being, so we warmly welcome Palm Beach County residents to pay us a visit in Lake Worth or Delray Beach, FL.