Drusen: Is This a Word You Need to Know?

  • Posted on: Mar 25 2021
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Some people are what we could call “word of the day” kind of people. The Greeks would refer to them as logophiles. It’s safe to say there aren’t many word nerds out there and even those who are eternally curious may not know the term drusen. Word-lover or not, if you are interested in long-term eye health and your eye doctor uses this term after your exam, you want to know what it means. We have found that when a patient doesn’t fully understand the medical jargon they may hear, their compliance with doctor’s instructions may be lower. Drusen isn’t a term we have to use a lot; but if you hear it, we want you to know what it means because it matters.

Drusen Explained

Drusen may seem like an odd word to many because it is not part of our everyday language. It is a German word that describes “rocks.” Ophthalmologists use this word to describe the yellowish deposits of extracellular waste that can build up beneath the retina. This is the piece of tissue that lines the back of the eye. It is essential to vision. Drusen formation on the retina isn’t something that you would recognize if it happened. These deposits are typically found during a dilated eye exam.

We do not often worry about drusen right off the bat. When there are only a few small deposits, we can take a wait-and-watch approach. If your ophthalmologist spotted these deposits, they may begin treating for dry age-related macular degeneration, since drusen can be an early sign of the condition. Age-related macular degeneration, AMD, is a potentially serious eye disease that involves the gradual breakdown of the macula, the central piece of tissue on the retina. When macular cells die off, a person may develop blank spots or blurry spots in their central vision. This area of the visual field may also become generally hazy as the deterioration of cells continues.

What if My Doctor Finds Drusen?

Finding drusen during an eye exam may be nothing to worry about immediately. If your vision is good, your doctor may begin a course of treatment to stop their growth. You may be advised to have follow-up eye exams more frequently. Your doctor may perform an Amsler grid test or other screenings that help identify the severity of macular degeneration and guide treatment options. The goal is to prevent the progression of AMD, which can become more serious over time.

Roholt Vision Institute is an ophthalmology practice serving the areas of North Canton, Alliance, and Canfield. Don’t wait for the signs of eye disease to occur. Schedule your visit with us today by contacting an office near you.

Posted in: Eye Care, Ohio Eye Care

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