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Angioid Streaks

What are angioid streaks?

The macula is the small, specialized area of the retina that gives us our straight-ahead reading and driving vision. Angioid streaks result from an abnormal brittleness to the eye wall beneath the macula. They are oftan very difficult to find since they resemble the normal blood vessels that radiate out from the yellow optic nerve. The most common cause is pseudoxanthoma elasticum.

normal macula
Normal macula

macula with angioid streaks
Angioid streaks (arrows) in a patient with pseudoxanthoma elasticum. The normal retinal orange color has an orange skin discoloration (peau d’orange) most evident towards the left of the picture.

New blood vessel growth beneath the macula (choroidal neovascularization, CNVM) can develop in some patients with angioid streaks. These vessels cause the macula to swell with fluid and blood and often lead to permanent central vision loss. There are many causes of CNV including age-related macular degenerationchoroidal rupture, degenerative myopia, idiopathic, and ocular histoplasmosis,

How are angioid streaks diagnosed?

Angioid streaks are found during a dilated retinal examination. Fluorescein angiography is often used to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the retinal damage. OCT scanning is used as well to help diagnosis CNVM.

How are angioid streaks treated?

Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea belong to a new class of potent medications, VEGF inhibitors, that prevent CNVM from growing and leaking. They have been extensively studied in patients with age-related macular degeneration, and are also highly effective in angioid streaks. Click here to learn more.

What happens if I lose my reading vision?

Except for airplane pilots, military personnel, surgeons, etc., most patients who lose reading vision in one eye usually continue their normal lifestyle and job without change. The major problem is adjusting to the initial lack of depth perception required for near vision. Eventually, patients learn to compensate for this and obtain new clues from the environment to judge close distances. Patients are usually able to thus gain back much of their lost depth perception. Patients should be able to drive a car as long as their vision in the good eye is at least 20/40 to 20/60.

Low Vision services and examination.

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We may recommend that you see a specialist for a low vision examination. Magnifying lenses or other devices can be prescribed to help with reading and other central vision tasks.

For those living in the Kentuckiana and Northern Kentucky areas, the Kentucky Office for the Blind, the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Free Kentucky Talking Book Library Service, and the American Printing House for the Blind offer a myriad of services and resources to help those with vision loss function better and remain independent.

Radio Eye is a non-profit 24-hour radio service that broadcasts the reading of current newspapers and other everyday literature, offering greater independent living to people who are blind, visually impaired or physically handicapped. Radio Eye radio listeners hear the reading of dozens of newspapers, magazines, health materials, grocery ads and much more. The audio stream can be accessed on a special (free) Radio Eye radio, on Library Channel 20 on Lexington Insight Cable TV, in area homes and hospitals, as well as on their website.

Lighthouse Guild is a leading nonprofit vision and healthcare organization, with a long-standing heritage of addressing the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities or chronic medical conditions. Through the integration of vision and healthcare services and the expansion of access through education and community outreach, their innovative and comprehensive approach helps people achieve and maintain the highest possible level of function and independence.