How Early Detection Can Help
At Envision Optical we are all about prevention and the best way to look after your eyes so you reduce the likelihood of deterioration in your vision and eye health. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the areas we focus on and aim to educate our patients here on the Gold Coast how they can look after their eyes. We not only cover prevention, but also how to manage conditions so the damaging effects to the eye health and vision are reduced.
A new method has been discovered by researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine, which allows patients who already have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to find out whether they are likely to suffer from blindness if left untreated. It is undertaken on a personalised basis and the method is able to estimate roughly when this would occur. This is achieved by using imaging data of retinal scans that we collect. The retinal scans are obtained with an imaging technique called spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT). These scans allow more educated decisions to be made to maximise opportunities of detecting AMD progression before it leads to blindness. This can be done through simple decisions on scheduling for each individual patient next visit.
Wet Macular Degeneration
It is the wet form of macular degeneration that is of most concern, accounting for 80-90% of legal blindness occurring due to the disease. Wet macular degeneration is the most crippling form of the disease. Until now, detection of progression to the wet stage of the disease has been ineffective. This has been of great concern, considering the high percentage of those it effects. Wet AMD causes irreversible damage to the macula if not treated quickly as the abnormal blood vessels collect beneath the macula, leaking blood and fluid.
This imaging technique is comparable to ultrasound. The macula is scanned with a beam of concentrated laser light, with the amount of reflected light coming back at each point measured and recorded. The resulting stream of data is converted into an extremely high-resolution, three-dimensional image. This image is easily examined by our optometrists to look for signs of Wet AMD. Recommendations are then able to be made for various treatment options including referral to retinal specialists.
Generally, current treatments include injections of medicines directly into the eyeball. This is costly and quite invasive for the patient, making the earliest possible detection and intervention most desirable. The important thing here is that OCT scans allow early detection of wet AMD at its commencement, rather than after it has caused too much damage. OCT scans are part of the high tech examination offered by Envision Optical optometrists.
To find out more or to book in an appointment with one of our optometrists, contact one of our four Gold Coast practices below.
Burleigh Heads, 21a James St, Burleigh Heads – 07 5535 2344
Treetops Plaza, Shop 19, 7 Classic Way, Burleigh Waters – 07 5593 7844
MyCentre Nerang, Shop 34b, 57 Station St, Nerang – 07 5502 1277
Tweed Health for Everyone Superclinic, 4/33-35 Corporation Circuit, Tweed Heads South – 07 5524 9659