We are currently in the midst of age related macular degeneration (AMD) and low vision recognition month.
Are you aware that age related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the primary reasons for vision loss in individuals aged 65 and over? AMD is characterized by a degeneration of the macula in the eye which functions to allow sharp central vision.
Age Related Macular Degeneration Indications
Early warning signs of AMD are often distorted vision or blind spots in the central vision. Due to the fact that the symptoms typically come on gradually and painlessly, signs may not be noticed until more severe vision loss is apparent. For this reason it is very important to have a routine eye exam, especially once you turn 65.
Risk Factors for Age Related Macular Degeneration
A number of risk factors have been determined including being Caucasian, being over the age of 65, smoking and genetics. If you are at greater risk, yearly eye exams are essential. Discussing proper nutrition with your eye doctor is also advised.
Wet and Dry AMD
Generally, macular degeneration is usually categorized as either wet or dry. Dry AMD is found more frequently and may be caused by aging and macular tissue thinning or pigment deposits in the macula. Wet macular degeneration, also called neovascular age related macular degeneration, is caused when new blood vessels grow beneath the retina which leak blood, which kills the retinal cells and causes vision loss in the central vision. Usually the wet form is the more serious of the two.
Is There a Cure for AMD?
While there are treatments that can delay the progression of AMD, there is no cure at this time. The treatment prescribed by your optometrist depends on the type of macular degeneration and may involve laser surgery or medical injections or in some cases, nutritional supplements. In all instances, early detection greatly enhances the chances of successful treatment. An optometrist may also be able to suggest devices to help you cope with any loss of sight that you have already sustained. Such loss of sight that is not able to be corrected by eyeglasses, contacts or surgery is called low vision. There are a growing number of low vision aids available today to greatly assist in preserving independence in daily activities.
Learn about the risk factors and symptoms of AMD before it's too late. Don't delay in scheduling an annual eye exam, especially if you are over 65.