Dr. Seema Gang, associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of North Carolina, spoke recently at Carolina Meadows on the topic of macular degeneration. He began his presentation with a helpful analogy, comparing the eye to a camera. The retina, like film, records images. Unfortunately, as we age the central retina may become imperfect; the “pictures” are no longer sharp. What happens is that the center of the retina, or “macula,” (Latin for spot or stain,) begins to fail. The condition is called AMD, or age-related Macular Degeneration.
There are two stages of AMD. The first is Dry AMD. This can be sensed when colors become less bright or indistinct, more light is needed to see objects, and there is difficulty focusing. As AMD advances it may be harder to recognize faces. The second stage is Wet AMD. In this situation, there is loss of central vision or distortion of images.
Dr. Seema emphasized the importance of annual eye examinations, including eye chart testing. Inspection of the retina by the ophthalmologist following dilation of the pupils is a must.
The well-attended lecture was part of the Carolina Meadows “Medical Update” series, a program chaired by resident Ernest Kraybill, MD.
By resident Jim Scatliff