Macular Degeneration

Can LED Screen Use Increase Risk of Macular Degeneration?

Many of us spend a considerable amount of time staring at LED screens, whether it’s a computer screen at work, a tablet, or our smartphones. In a recent article, TechCrunch reported that, on average, adults spend up to five hours per day on mobile devices alone! At Riverside EyeCare Professionals, our ophthalmologists are concerned about the negative effects that excessive screen time can have on the eyes, especially when LED screens are held close for long periods of time.

About Blue-Violet Light

In addition to contributing to eye fatigue, blue-violet light emitted by LED screens can damage the eyes. On the visible light spectrum, blue-violet light is the highest energy wavelength and cannot be filtered out by the eye. This means that blue-violet light can penetrate all the way to the back of the eye, where it can cause both irritation and irreversible damage to the retina.

Effects of Blue-Violet Light on the Eyes

According to studies that have examined the effects of blue-violet light on the eyes, ocular health can be compromised both short-term and long-term. Accumulating hours in front of an LED screen on a given day may lead to dry eyes and headaches, and it has been proven that blue light exposure at night can interrupt sleep patterns. While these short-term side effects may be bothersome, they can typically be controlled by limiting screen time or wearing protective lenses that filter blue light.

The long-term effects of blue-violet light are cumulative over one’s lifetime, and the more exposure the retinas have had, the more prone they are to damage. It can therefore be assumed that extensive blue-violet light from an LED screen could potentially hasten the onset of age-related macular degeneration. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF), recent studies have shown that blue-violet light, along with other risk factors, can increase the likelihood of retinal damage and development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Preventing Age-Related Macular Degeneration

AMD is the most common cause of serious vision impairment and blindness in individuals over the age of 50, and it is important that patients are aware of the risk factors. In addition to limiting blue-violet light from LED screens, we also encourage our patients to shield the eyes from sun exposure, quit smoking, and manage dangerous health conditions such as obesity, high-cholesterol, and high-blood pressure.

If you are concerned about age-related macular degeneration and want to learn more about how to protect your eyes, we invite you to contact Riverside EyeCare Professionals to schedule an exam with one of our skilled ophthalmologists.

How Is AMD Treated?

 

Although there is no known cure for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), there are many treatment approaches Dr. Michael Sumsion can use to slow the progression of this serious condition. When left untreated, AMD most likely leads to blindness. For this reason, it is imperative that patients who begin to experience symptoms of macular degeneration seek out the assistance of a board-certified ophthalmologist immediately to improve chances of vision preservation.

The treatment used for AMD will depend in part upon which type of macular degeneration the patient is diagnosed with. For dry macular degeneration, vision aids and vitamin therapy are often used to minimize the symptoms. Protecting the eyes from UV exposure and receiving routine eye exams are also important components of managing dry macular degeneration.

Patients diagnosed with wet macular degeneration have a number of treatment options available, and Dr. Sumsion can help determine which course of action can best suit your needs during the consultation process. Intravitreal injections with Lucentis®, Avastin®, or Eylea® can potentially stop fluid leakage within the retina and ideally prevent further damage. In some cases, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) can be used to target leaking vessels in the eye and slow the progression of macular degeneration.

The most important step toward successful treatment of AMD is receiving a proper diagnosis. Scheduling routine eye exams can help ensure your eye doctor catches macular degeneration in its earliest stages. Prompt diagnosis can lead to swift treatment, which may provide the best opportunity for preserving your vision.

What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is one of the major causes of blindness in people over the age of 50, and may begin to develop as early as age 40. Since there is no known cure for macular degeneration, early detection and prompt treatment are essential for preserving your vision. The symptoms of macular degeneration may include:

  • Gradual or sudden change in the quality of your vision
  • Blurry vision and trouble seeing fine detail
  • Loss of central vision that manifests as either dark blurs or “white-out” spots
  • Changes in color perception
  • Straight lines that appear bent or curved

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, you should seek out a board-certified ophthalmologist for testing and proper diagnosis. Dr. Michael Sumsion offers a number of treatment options at Riverside EyeCare Professionals that can potentially slow the progression of macular degeneration. In some instances, patients may even experience an improvement in their vision. If you believe you may be experiencing the onset of macular degeneration, please contact our office right away.

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Redding, CA 96001
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