In our line of business, we unfortunately run into many customers who either have some form of macular degeneration or know of someone who is going through the struggles of vision loss. We are often asked if CraftOptics can help those suffering from macular degeneration, and the answer is, “it depends.”
For some, we can be very helpful and even help them continue doing the work they love, but for others, we may not be a good solution as macular degeneration affects people differently, with vision loss in one eye or both, and to varying degrees. Over 2 million people in the US have some form of macular degeneration.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the deterioration of the macula, which is the central portion of the retina. This is the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The macula is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
When the cells of the macular begin to deteriorate, images are not received correctly. In the early stages, macular degeneration may not affect vision. As the disease gets worse, vision becomes wavy or blurred and central vision may be completely lost. When the disease becomes extremely advanced, people may be considered legally blind.
There are two types of Macular Degeneration: Dry (atrophic) and Wet (neovascular or exudative). It is possible to experience a different type in each eye.
Dry Macular Degeneration
The dry type is the most common and affects approximately 80-90% of individuals with AMD. Compared to the wet type, it tends to progress more slowly. This type is caused by small white or yellowish deposits, called drusen, that form on the retina, beneath the macula, and cause it to deteriorate or degenerate over time.
Wet Macular Degeneration
The wet type is less common and only affects approximately 10-15% of individuals with age-related macular degeneration. This type also accounts for approximately 90% of all cases of severe vision loss from the disease. It is caused by abnormal blood vessels under the retina and they begin to grow toward the macula. Due to the blood vessels’ abnormality, they tend to damage the macula and cause it to lift up and pull away from its base. This can result in a rapid and severe loss of central vision.
The largest risk factors include aging, smoking, obesity, inactivity and high blood pressure.
As of now, there is no known cure, but there are options available to treat the wet form of macular degeneration that reduces the risk of severe vision loss. These options include Lucentis and Avastin injections, thermal laser treatment or photodynamic therapy (PDT). The Lucentis and Avastin injections are the most common. There is also a new, implantable micro-telescope that can reduce the blind spot in advanced cases. To read more about treatment options, check out All About Vision and American Academy of Ophthalmology. With that said, lifestyle changes such as working out regularly, improving your diet, and quitting smoking may contribute to slowing the disease’s effects.
Can CraftOptics help?
In the early stages of the disease, CraftOptics can be very helpful to those who are starting to struggle with their vision. If someone can still read the newspaper or headlines, see the TV, read large print books, see a computer or tablet screen in large fonts and still function during day to day activities, CraftOptics can be very helpful, particularly with the DreamBeam attached as light is often a major issue with those suffering from AMD. If someone needs a video monitor to be able to read and can no longer read newspaper headlines or see the TV or a computer screen, CraftOptics may not be helpful.
In the case where AMD is affecting one eye only, or where one eye is much worse than the other, then CraftOptics can be helpful as well. When one looks through the telescopes, a stereo image is created where in many cases the vision from the good eye “fills in the blanks” to a certain extent of the bad eye. CraftOptics offers a money back guarantee in case they are not helpful. In any case, it is a good idea to contact us to discuss your particular case.
Please contact CraftOptics at 888 444 7728 to discuss your particular situation. To learn more information regarding Macular Degeneration, check out VisionAware and American Macular Degeneration Foundation.