Age related macular degeneration, often called AMD is the leading cause of vision loss among Americans age 65 and older. Because this group makes up an increasingly larger percentage of the population, vision loss from macular degeneration is a growing problem.
Macular degeneration is scarring of the macula, a spot about 1/16-inch in diameter at the center of the retina. The macula enables you to read, watch television, drive, sew-anything that requires focused, straight-ahead vision. Although you can continue to see images at the sides of your field of vision, the scarring distorts or obscures your central vision.
There are two forms of macular degeneration. Most people with AMD have the dry form, for which there is no known treatment. The less common wet form may respond to laser procedures, if diagnosed and treated early.
Preventative treatment is your best defense when it comes to AMD. Recent research shows that certain vitamins and minerals may help prevent or slow the progression of macular degeneration. Annual comprehensive eye health exams are essential for early diagnosis and treatment.
Some common AMD symptoms are:
- gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
- distorted vision
- a gradual loss of color vision
- a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision
People experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their eye doctor immediately for a comprehensive examination.
The greatest risk factor is age.
Other risk factors include:
- Smoking. Smoking may increase the risk of AMD.
- Obesity. Research studies suggest a link between obesity and the progression of early stage AMD to advanced AMD.
- Race. Whites are much more likely to lose vision from AMD than African Americans.
- Family history. Those with immediate family members who have AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
- Gender. Women appear to be at greater risk than men.
Your lifestyle can play a role in reducing your risk of developing AMD.
- Eat a healthy diet high in green leafy vegetables and fish.
- Don’t smoke.
- Maintain normal blood pressure.
- Watch your weight.
Here at Uptown Eye Care we use the most advanced technology to evaluate the health of your eyes and are experts at prevention counseling, diagnosing and managing the treatment of AMD. Please contact us with your questions or concerns.