Dr. Randolph Kinkade, a Connecticut Optometrist and founding member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, discusses low vision rehabilitation treatment for macular degeneration: Prismatic Magnifying Readers, Spectacle Miniature Telescopes, E-Scoops, and Implantable Miniature Telescopes.
The rehabilitation process starts with first understanding the disease and then the benefits and limitations of magnification. One also must understand there is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are ways to minimize the problems it creates.
Magnification can be supplied in special glasses, hand-held magnifiers or electronically. Lighting, contrast and glare control are other important treatment tools for low vision due to macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is a progressive condition that causes vision loss in the center of your vision. It affects millions of Americans. In fact, it is a leading cause of permanent vision loss in people 50 and older. The older you are, the greater your chance of being affected by age-related macular degeneration. Early detection is the key to avoiding vision loss.
Macular degeneration does not cause total blindness, but it can decrease your quality of life by blurring or causing a blind spot in your central vision. Clear central vision is necessary for reading, driving, recognizing faces and doing detail work. In contrast, the peripheral retina is responsible for detecting blurry shapes and movement off to the side.
The macula is an area of the light-sensitive retina in the center of the back of the eye. In the center of the macula is the fovea that contains densely packed photoreceptor cells which are necessary for providing sharp detail vision.
DRY MACULAR DEGENERATION
In dry macular degeneration, the sensitive macula tissue brakes down for not fully understood reasons. Dry macular degeneration is the the most common form of macular degeneration and there is currently to medical treatment.
WET MACULAR DEGENERATION
Wet macular degeneration occurs when new blood vessels grow and leak fluid underneath the macula. This form of macular degeneration accounts for 10 percent to 15 percent of cases, but it progresses more rapidly and is more likely to lead to dramatic loss in vision than the dry form. Early detection and treatment (series of injections) may help reduce the extent of vision loss and in some instances improve vision.
"Low vision" is a term to describe vision loss that can't be corrected with regular eyeglasses, medication or surgery. It can be caused by macular degeneration and other eye conditions like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
A combination of vision rehabilitation and magnification tools often return the ability to see and do the things that are important. Therapy and vision enhancing aids reduce many struggles that accompany vision loss.
LOW VISION EYEGLASSES
Specialty eyewear , like Prismatic Magnifying Readers (SMRs), Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs) and E-Scoops provide more magnification and enhance vision than traditional single lens glasses can.
E-Scoop lenses use yoked prism to shift the image away from the damaged areas of the macula, special curvature on the lenses to provide some magnification, special yellow tint for improved contrast, and anti-reflective coating to help with glare.
IMPLANTABLE MINIATURE TELESCOPE
The Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) offers a surgical option for advanced macular degeneration for some selected. Dr. Kinkade is part of the first rehabilitation team to bring this technology to Connecticut.
ELECTRONIC MAGNIFICATION AIDS
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