Macular Degeneration

When you or a loved one receives a diagnosis of macular degeneration from an eye doctor, it’s perfectly normal to have several questions and concerns. Can it be cured? What are the next steps? What, even, is macular degeneration? Having served the eye care needs of patients in West Michigan since 1982, Grand Rapids Ophthalmology has a wealth of experience and expertise from which to draw when questions like these, and any others, arise.

What is Macular Degeneration?

Let’s start with the basics – macular degeneration is an eye condition that causes deterioration in the center of the retina, an area called the macula. This is the area responsible for your near vision.

The macula can experience two kinds of deterioration:

Dry Macular Degeneration

In dry macular degeneration, yellow deposits, called drusen, appear in the macula. These deposits, which can grow larger or increase in number, can cause distorted vision. As dry macular degeneration progresses, some of the cells in the macula die off. These are in the macula’s light-sensitive layer.

Wet Macular Degeneration

In wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels grow in the retina. These can leak blood and other fluids into the retina, distorting your vision.

What causes macular degeneration?

The condition is usually found in people over 60. It is sometimes referred to as age-related macular degeneration or AMD.
Besides age, other risk factors include smoking, poor diet, being overweight, or failure to control high blood pressure. There may also be genetic causes of the condition.
Scientists have yet to determine why abnormal blood vessels grow in the eye. They also don’t know what causes the drusen that results in dry macular degeneration.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

Signs of macular degeneration can come on gradually. People first realize there’s a problem when their central vision seems to be worsening.
This becomes most evident when doing close-up work like reading. Straight lines may appear crooked or wavy. You may also have blind spots or see dark blurry areas.
Chart Showing How Macular Degeneration Affects the Eye. Also Showing Normal, Wet Macular Degeneration and Dry Macular Degeneration

How will I know if I have macular degeneration?

When you come in for a routine eye care appointment at any of our several locations throughout West Michigan, in addition to many other tests, your doctor will perform a thorough check to detect signs and symptoms of Macular Degeneration. In particular, he or she will check all areas of your eye, including the retina, for abnormal deposits. The doctor may then order other tests to confirm the initial diagnosis. These can include the use of an Amsler grid, which tracks daily improvement or deterioration in eyesight, as well as the administration of a special dye that allows the doctor to quickly and easily identify abnormal blood vessels.

What treatments are available?

Treatments for macular degeneration can vary, but common options include:


The doctor can administer special medication to stop the growth of new blood vessels. This type of drug is known as an antiangiogenic drug.

High-energy laser light

These treatments can stop the abnormal growth of blood vessels in your eyes.

Light-sensitive drugs combined with laser therapy

With this procedure, a medication is injected into your bloodstream. Once this medication has been absorbed by the abnormal blood vessels in your eye, the doctor will then shine a laser light into your eye, which activates the drug and causes it to damage the abnormal cells. These treatments target wet macular degeneration. For dry macular degeneration, recent studies suggest that certain vitamin supplements may help.
If you’ve been diagnosed with dry macular degeneration, ask your doctor about this and other suggested treatments.

What steps can I take to prevent or control macular degeneration?

The easiest way to prevent macular degeneration is to live a healthy lifestyle. This includes keeping your weight down, not smoking, maintaining a healthy diet and, most importantly, having regular eye exams. This will allow your doctor to detect any changes in your eye health early.

Do you have questions or concerns about macular degeneration? Contact Grand Rapids Ophthalmology and set up an appointment with one of our highly trained ophthalmologists. Our team delivers the best eye care in Western Michigan and we look forward to helping you manage your macular degeneration.

Schedule an Appointment

Schedule an appointment today to experience the GRO difference. Call 616.588.6598 or click here.

Our Locations

Grand Rapids Ophthalmology is pleased to provide top-quality, comprehensive eye care to our patients in the Greater Grand Rapids area. We have 15 conveniently located eye care centers that utilize the latest and most advanced technologies across the entire spectrum of ophthalmology. If you are seeking information about one of our eye care locations please click into our locations page for more information. Hours are subject to change due to upcoming Holidays.

Construction Update: US-131 southbound is now closed between Burton and 28th Street. The ramp from US-131 northbound to I-96 westbound is also closed and will remain closed all summer. Please allow extra travel time and plan routes accordingly to arrive for your appointment on time.

East Beltline Map
East Beltline
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
East Beltline Medical Center
750 East Beltline Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
(Located on the Southeast corner of East Beltline and Bradford - enter from Bradford)
M, W, Th, F: 8am – 5pm
Late Night – T: 8am – 7pm
Sat: 8am – 11am
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 8am-5pm
Grandville Map
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
Rivertown Office Center
4475 Wilson Ave SW
Grandville, MI 49418
(Located on the Northwest corner of 44th St/Rivertown Pkwy and Wilson - enter from Wilson)
Tu, W, F: 8am-5pm
Late Nights – M, Th: 8am-7pm
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 8am-5pm
Walker Map
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology (Located on the upper level)
3300 Walker View Dr
Walker, MI 49544
(Located North of Walker Avenue exit on I-96 – enter on the upper level)
M, T, Th, F: 8am-5pm
Late Night – W: 8am-7pm
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 8am-5pm
80 68th map
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
Spectrum Health South Campus
80 68th St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49548
(Located on Southeast corner of 68th St and Division)
M, W, Th, F: 8am-5pm
Late Night – Tu: 8am-6pm
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 8am-5pm
7 mile map
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
Mercy Health Campus
6050 Northland Dr NE, Suite 100
Rockford, MI 49341
M, W, Th, F: 8am-5pm
Late Night – Tu: 8am-7pm
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 7am-5pm
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
Mercy Health Campus
10047 Crossroads Ct SE
Caledonia, MI 49316
M, Tu, W, Th, F: 8am-5pm
Closed 12pm-1pm daily
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 8am-5pm
caledonia map
lakeshore map
East Grand Rapids
Lakeshore Eye
717 Bagley Ave SE
East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
M-Th: 8am-5pm
F: Closed (until December 1, 2023)
holland map
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
Lakeshore Medical Campus
3235 N Wellness Dr, Suite 130
Holland, MI 49424
(Located ¼ mile East of US-31 on the left)
M, W, Th: 8am-5pm
F: 7:30am-3:30pm
Late Night – Tu: 8am-7pm
Phones answered Mon thru Thurs 8am-5pm & Fri 7:30am-3:30pm
ionia map
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
537 W Main St
Ionia, MI 48846
M, W, Th, F: 8am-5pm
Late Night – Tu: 8am-7pm
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 8am-5pm
Greenville map
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
705 S Greenville W Dr. #Suite 201
Greenville MI 48838
M: 7:30am-6pm
Tu, W: 7:30am-4:30pm
Th: 8am-5pm
F: 7:30am-4:30pm
511 Wilson Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
M, W, Th, F: 8am-5pm
Late Night – T: 8am-7pm
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 8am – 5pm
Michigan optical map
GRO Surgical map
GRO Surgical Center
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology Surgical Care Center
750 East Beltline Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
(Located on Southeast corner of East Beltline and Bradford – enter on the second floor)
M, TU, W, Th, F: 8am-5pm
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 8am-5pm
walker surgical map
Walker Surgical Center
Walker Surgical Center
3300 Walker View Dr
Walker, MI 49544
(Located North of Walker Avenue exit on I-96 – enter on the lower level)
M, Tu, W, Th, F: 6am-5pm
Phones answered Mon thru Fri 6am-5pm
see All locations

Contact Us

Please do not include personal identifying information such as your birth date, or personal medical information in any emails you send to us. No one can diagnose your condition from email or other written communications, and communication via our website cannot replace the relationship you have with a physician or another healthcare practitioner.

LASIK self-test
Cataract Self-Test
Schedule Appointment
online store