Do you find it takes a long time for your eyes to adjust when you come inside after being in the bright light? This is a fairly common occurrence, but studies have indicated that the longer it takes for your eyes to get used to the new lighting conditions, the more at risk you could potentially be of developing an eye condition called macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD for short, is a progressive eye disease and the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss in people over the age of 60. It occurs when the cells in the small, central part of the retina called the macula to begin to break down. This typically happens due to advancing age but can sometimes be seen in some patients earlier than their senior years. In fact, there are some risk factors that make someone more likely to develop macular degeneration earlier in their lifetime. These include:
Having high blood pressure
Eating a diet high in saturated fat
Having a family history of AMD
Being diagnosed with heart disease
Having high cholesterol
There are two different types of macular degeneration, known as dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common, accounting for around 90% of cases. In dry AMD, the cells of the macular get thinner and tiny clumps of protein, called drusen, grow and slowly impair your central vision. Dry AMD usually develops slowly, meaning that vision loss is also very gradual. Meanwhile, wet AMD causes much more rapid vision loss. It occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and other fluids, causing scarring.
There is a range of different symptoms associated with AMD, but one of the best ways to obtain an accurate diagnosis is with a piece of equipment known as AdaptDX.
AdaptDX is a fully automated dark adaptometer. A dark adaptometer is a piece of equipment that quickly measures the ability of the eyes to adjust from bright light to darkness. It is so advanced that your eye doctor doesn’t need a dark room to perform the test. Instead, custom eyecups used during the exam form a light-proof seal, creating your very own, personal darkroom experience.
The test itself is non-invasive, painless, and takes just a few minutes of your time. Once the AdaptDX headset is placed over your head and adjusted to fit, and the custom eyecups have sealed out all of the natural light in the room, you’ll be asked to look into the device and stay alert, as you will need to push down on a button you’ll be holding in your hand each time you see light. It really is that simple. At the end of the test, your eye doctor and the team will remove the headset, and you will be able to discover and discuss your results immediately.
AdaptDX has found to be a very effective diagnostic tool for macular degeneration. The technology within the headset tracks the way that your pupils react to light changes in real-time, then provides this information as data, which your eye doctor can interpret. Studies have found that patients who take longer to recover their visual sensitivity when moving from light to dark environments are more likely to suffer from macular degeneration. Since there is currently no effective treatment that can reverse vision loss as a result of AMD, prompt treatment will help to preserve your vision for as long as possible.
To find out more about AdaptDX, or to discuss your concerns about macular degeneration, please don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable eye care team.