Central vision is the field of vision that allows people to see small details, making it possible to complete everyday tasks like driving and reading. Central vision is largely controlled by a small area within the retina called the macula. When eye conditions affect the macula, central vision can become distorted.
At Lifetime Eye Care, Dr. Jeffrey E. Schultz offers a full scope of eye care services to treat many of the most common eye conditions, including those that affect central vision. Here, we take a take a closer look at some common conditions that affect central vision in our Cleveland, OH patients. For more information, or to learn about your treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.
Age-related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of central vision loss and is most prevalent in those over the age of 60. Most people with AMD will not become totally blind from this condition, but it can become severe enough to significantly impair central vision.
There are two types of AMD, which include dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration.
- Dry macular degeneration: Dry macular degeneration is marked by yellow deposits, called drusen, forming in the macula. At first, drusen may not impact vision, but as they become larger, vision may dim or distort. In addition to the presence of drusen, advanced dry macular degeneration may also be characterized by a thinning of the layer of light-sensitive cells within the macula. This can cause blind spots to form and lead to a loss of central vision.
- Wet macular degeneration: Wet macular degeneration is characterized by an abnormal growth of blood vessels beneath the macula. These blood vessels leak blood and fluid into the retina, which can distort vision, cause blind spots to form, or lead to a complete loss of central vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that can cause central vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by chronically high levels of sugar in the blood. This can create blockages in the tiny blood vessels that support the retina. As these blood vessels become blocked, nerve fibers within the retina may swell and eventually new blood vessels develop. However, these new blood vessels are prone to leaking. As the blood vessels leak, scar tissue may form, which can damage the optic nerve or cause the retina to become detached, all of which can impact central vision.
Macular edema is a condition in which fluid builds up in the macula. As fluid builds up, the macula will swell and thicken. When the macula thickens, central vision may become distorted or otherwise impaired. Macular edema is often associated with diabetes, but may also be caused by age-related macular degeneration and other eye conditions, like retinitis pigmentosa.
A macular hole is a hole, or break, within the tissue of the macula. Macular holes are most commonly caused by the aging process as a result of the gel-like substance inside the eye, called the vitreous, shrinking and pulling away from the retina. This can cause a hole to form in the macula. In some cases, the vitreous will seep out of the macular hole, causing central vision to become blurry and impaired.
A macular pucker is a bump or wrinkle within the macula, often caused by scar tissue. As with a macular hole, a macular pucker is often caused by the aging process and a shrinking vitreous. Scar tissue may develop as the retina tries to heal itself from the damage caused by the shrinking vitreous.
Discover Your Treatment Options
Seeking treatment at the first signs of vision problems is important to protecting eyesight. If you have noticed problems with your central vision, you are encouraged to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schultz to learn more about your treatment options.