Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - 50

50
People with
macular
degeneration
can have a dark,
blurry spot in
their fi eld of
vision, like this
simulated view.
1 in 11 W
Number of
Americans
whose vision
is impaired by
retinal disease
Michael Cusick,
MD, UVA Health
ophthalmologist
with special
training in
retinal diseases
hether brown, blue or
green, our eyes allow us to
clearly see the words on this
page and the world around
us. But as we age, this
remarkable ability can begin to fade. It happens
most oſt en because the back part of our
eye-the retina-begins to wear down. And it's
widespread: Retinal diseases impair the vision
of as many as 1 in 11 Americans. Simple steps
can keep our eyes healthy, fortunately, and
experts have ways to preserve our vision.
Michael Cusick, MD, a UVA Health ophthalmologist
with special training in retinal
diseases, shares how our eyes work and what
can go wrong and off ers insights on how best
to maintain the remarkable ability of our eyes.
HOW WE SEE
" Th ink of the eye as a camera, " Dr. Cusick
explains. " All of the structures in the front
are meant to focus light waves onto our retina-or
the fi lm in the camera. Th e retina is
the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back
of our eyes and allows us to have central and
peripheral vision. With most of what we see,
we're using the central [or macula] part of the
retina. Still, to this day, I fi nd it amazing how
our eyes can turn light waves into nerve signals
that our brains can interpret, allowing us
to see the bright colors of the day or the dim
light at night. "
FALL 2021 VIM & VIGOR
WHY OUR VISION FADES
" Macular degeneration is most commonly
an age-related process. It's more prevalent in
Caucasians, women, those with light-colored
eyes and those with a family history of the
condition, " Dr. Cusick says.
" With age-related macular degeneration
[AMD], the retina's center wears down, " he says.
" Th e exact cause is unknown, but we think
central vision is impaired by waste products of
retina cells that appear as yellow deposits under
the central retina. Th is process is known as dry
AMD and is the most common type of AMD. "
Taking a twice daily specially formulated
supplement of vitamins and minerals can
reduce the likelihood of dry AMD progressing
to the more serious wet AMD. Wet AMD
involves the growth of new blood vessels that
can leak blood and fl uid under the macula,
leading to permanent damage.
Retinal specialists can stabilize wet AMD
and even improve some people's vision with
injections of a medication, if treatment is
started early.
" Although dry and wet AMD cause central
vision loss, " Dr. Cusick says, " these conditions
rarely lead to complete blindness, because
peripheral vision oſt en remains normal. " And
the future looks bright, thanks to his UVA
colleagues who are laying the groundwork for
new and better treatments (see " Unraveling
Macular Degeneration " ).

Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - 2
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - 3
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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - Cover4
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