Annual Seminar on Macular Degeneration, Low Vision, and Glaucoma
Glaucoma, low vision, and macular degeneration are eye problems that affect more than 24 million Americans annually. Because of this, the Dean McGee Eye Institute is hosting the 14th Annual Macular Degeneration, Low Vision, and Glaucoma seminar on Monday, October 31.
We’ll highlight commonalities of each eye disease and what participants can expect from the free seminar.
The eye diseases
Macular degeneration, commonly referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), occurs when the macula, or small area in the retina that allows you to see fine details, begins to deteriorate.
There are two forms of AMD that patients can have: dry or wet. Dry AMD is the most common form and happens as the macula ages or thins due to the build-up of fatty, yellow deposits called drusen underneath the retina. Wet AMD, which occurs when blood vessels abnormally growth beneath the retina, represents about 10% of AMD cases but it can cause more damage to the macula.
While macular degeneration leads to vision loss, it usually does not lead to complete blindness in patients. Often, people aren’t aware they have AMD until there’s a noticeable vision problem or detection is made in an eye exam.
While there is no cure for AMD, patients can take the following supplements to lower the progression of the disorder: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc oxide, and copper.
Low vision is a loss of eyesight that cannot be corrected with regular eyeglasses, medicine, or surgery. Low vision is commonly caused by eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa.
Low vision can be diagnosed in patients with a complete eye exam. Once the low vision diagnosis has been given, the doctor will discuss with the patients new ways to use their remaining vision including increasing the use brighter lighting, making things larger, using electronic books, and more.
Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of preventable blindness, affects 2.7 million Americans older than 40, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This eye disorder occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye, causing increased pressure and ultimately damaging the optic nerve.
“Glaucoma can be a blinding disease, but it doesn’t have to be. Blindness occurs late in the disease process,” said Andrew K. Bailey, MD, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Dean McGee Eye Institute.
There are two categories of glaucoma — open-angle and closed angle — and within those there are various subcategories.
“Early detection can provide access to treatment options that are less invasive and very effective. Medications, laser therapy, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery can prevent the progression of the disease if detected early,” Dr. Bailey said.
The Macular Degeneration, Low Vision, and Glaucoma free seminar will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, October 31 at the Samis Education Center at the Children’s Hospital, 1200 Children’s Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73104. Speakers from several organizations are scheduled to present:
- Dean McGee Eye Institute
- NewView Oklahoma
- Cathy Holden, COMS, Director of Rehabilitation Services
- Marlene Snow, OTR/L, SCLV, Manager of Low Vision Services
- Department of Rehabilitation Services
- Debi Trout, COMS
- Sabrina Stevenson
- Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
- Kevin Treese, Programs Manager/Director
- Brian King
“Seminars such as this are important because we want the public to be informed and educated about potential vision-threatening diseases,” Dr. Bailey said. “The more they’re informed and the more they understand, the better they can take the necessary steps to access appropriate screening.”
Staying on top of eye diseases such as macular degeneration, low vision, and glaucoma can benefit patients in the long run.
“Earlier detection of a problem means less intervention to control or treat the problem,” Dr. Bailey said.