714-901-7777
01
JUL
2015

What Causes Distortion? | Symptoms of Macular Diseases

“Macula” is not a disease.

Amsler Grid | Vitreo-Retinal Specialists Huntington Beach, CA 92647It is the name for the central portion of the retina, which lines the inside of the back of the eye. The retina acts like a film in a camera creating the picture that is sent to the brain where vision is completed.
The macula is responsible for central vision and for seeing small details. There are many different conditions that can affect the macula. Some disturb the structure of the macula, which causes distortions in the central vision.

AMD Causes Distortion

Looking at linear venetian blinds, a picket fence, or any object with straight edges can determine if you have distortions. Remember to test only one eye at time and use your glasses if you wear any.  At VMR Institute, we usually give our patients an Amsler grid to test and monitor themselves at home.

The most common cause for distortions in central vision is wet macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that results from aging, usually occurring in the 70s and 80s of life. AMD is at least in part an inherited disorder, most often afflicting elderly people of northern and central European heritage such as Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, etc.

There are two types of macular degeneration;  dry AMD and wet AMD.
Wet AMD features the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the macula. These blood vessels disturb the structure of the macula causing distortions in vision. Sometime these abnormal blood vessels rupture causing bleeding, and the blood creates a central blind spot.

Macular Pucker and Macular Hole

Other macular diseases that cause distortions are macular pucker and macular hole. These tend to occur in people who are a bit younger, in their 50’s and 60’s. If there is a disease that results in leaky blood vessels, then there can be blurred vision.

In wet macular degeneration, patients often have leaky blood vessels, so these patients can have both distortions and blurred vision. The leading cause of blindness in Americans between 20 and 74 years of age comes from diabetes, and the most common cause of vision loss in diabetes is diabetic retinopathy with fluid leaking in the macula.
This results from poorly controlled diabetes damaging the blood vessels of the macula so they become leaky, making the macula wet and blurring vision.

Other conditions that cause leaking blood vessels in the macula are related to high blood pressure. These diseases, called retinal vein occlusions,  feature bleeding in the retina as well as leakage of fluid into the macula, called macular edema.

About the Author
Dr. Sebag specializes in treatment of diseases of the retina, vitreous, and macula. He has authored three books, as well as many articles, chapters and editorials on diseases, drug therapy, and surgery.
 
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Huntington Beach, CA 92647
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