Macular Degeneration and Charles Bonnet Syndrome

 

Charles Bonnet Syndromepic

Charles Bonnet Syndrome
Image: aao.org

At Retina Associates in Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Cameron Javid and his colleagues treat a variety of conditions related to retinal disease or damage. Retina Associates has treated many patients with age-related macular degeneration and other disorders that cause vision loss, a primary contributing factor in Charles Bonnet syndrome.

Charles Bonnet syndrome is a medical condition that causes recurring vivid hallucinations. It is present in up to 30 percent of patients with severe vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other conditions of the eye. The hallucinations range from the complex to the everyday, but what they all have in common is that the patient recognizes them as illusions.

Both patients and health care providers must remember that Charles Bonnet syndrome is not a psychiatric disorder. It is generally thought to develop similarly to phantom limb pain, in that the brain continues to produce visual images in the absence of stimuli.

Recent research suggests that this may be more likely in patients with hyper-excitability in the visual cortex. Upon stimulating the peripheral vision, still intact in patients with macular degeneration, scientists found that those predisposed to Charles Bonnet hallucinations had more activity in the cortex compared to those without such hallucinations.

The most important thing is to be aware that although concerning it is not harmful and usually resolves with time.

Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration – A Serious Form of Eye Disease

Retina Associates

Retina Associates

Serving the needs of Tucson, Arizona, patients, Dr. Cameron Javid and the Retina Associates team provide advanced ophthalmologic care for a variety of eye conditions. Among the conditions for which Retina Associates offers exceptionally high-quality treatment is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which stands as the most common cause of vision loss worldwide in people over 60 years of age.

A condition centering on the gradual breakdown of the macula within the retina, macular degeneration impacts the patient’s ability to clearly make out details. The two basic types of the condition are dry, non-exudative AMD, and exudative, wet AMD. The latter form of AMD results in more severe visual impairment and accounts for the vast majority of blindness incidents associated with the disease.

Composed of a complex cellular network, the retina stands as one of the body’s most metabolically active tissues. The tissue receives its oxygen and nutrient supply through blood vessels in the retina and choroid layers that enable high blood flow. This process can be disrupted through problems with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which can lead to abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye as well as hemorrhaging and edema beneath the macula. As these lesions turn into scars, the macula is destroyed and central vision deteriorates rapidly.

Reflecting its seriousness, cases of wet AMD require immediate treatment that includes the use of VEGF inhibitors as a way of shutting down the choroidal neovascularization process. In addition, several clinical trials are available with new treatment options for patients that qualify.

About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Retina Associates pic

Retina Associates
Image: retinatucson.com

Retina Associates provides specialized care for retinal abnormalities to patients in Tucson, Arizona. Through Retina Associates, Dr. Cameron Javid and his fellow physicians treat numerous individuals with macular degeneration.

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the most common cause of vision loss in the United States today. It stems from the deterioration of an area known as the macula, which lies in the center of the retina at the back of the eye. In a healthy human eye, the macula is responsible for receiving and processing information from the patient’s central field of vision.

Because the retina is responsible for translating light into signals that the brain can read as vision, its degeneration can be devastating to a patient. Macular cells that no longer function can in turn no longer correctly tell the brain what the individual is seeing. This manifests as blurriness, image distortion, or even darkening in the affected visual field.

In most cases, this process occurs because the macula begins to gradually thin with age. At first, this does not cause noticeable symptoms but instead prompts the development of small deposits under the retina, which an ophthalmologist may notice on examination. Vision loss then slowly begins and worsens as damage increases.

Dry macular degeneration may progress into the disease’s wet form, which occurs as a result of abnormal blood vessel growth under the retina. These vessels are structurally unsound and leak into the retina, which in turn can cause rapid and severe vision loss. Wet macular degeneration requires timely medical treatment, so that a retina specialist can treat the condition with injections of medicine into the eye or cold laser.

Macular Degeneration – An Age-Related Vision Disorder

Retina Associates pic

Retina Associates
Image: retinatucson.com

Dr. Cameron Javid, and the other retina specialists at Retina Associates in Tucson, Arizona offers eye care involving the retina and vitreous. In other words, conditions that involve the back of the eye. Retina Associates also provides expert treatment for macular degeneration, which involves reduced visibility in the a person central vision.

The condition is caused by an age related cell loss in the macula, which lies in the back of the eye within the central retina. The macula has vital functions, such as helping visualize small details, and is necessary in performing functions such as driving and reading. While it does not impair peripheral vision, macular degeneration causes blurriness, distortion, and darkness, and affects the ability to focus on near and far objects. As the condition progresses, tasks requiring focus, such as threading a needle, may become extremely challenging.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of the disease, and 90 percent of patients have dry AMD. Comparatively wet AMD involves sudden, mild to severe loss of central sight, as abnormal blood vessels expand in the back of the eye.
Fortunately there are several treatments available to treat wet AMD and many current clinical research trials available at Retina Associates in Tucson, AZ