As we get older, our vision begins to wane resulting in various eye related conditions such as Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the leading cause of vision loss of people above the age of 50. AMD is a silent vision loss condition as vision loss is often undetected until it is advanced. Here are ten facts about AMD you should know.
1. AMD results from a damaged macula, a small area in the center of the retina of the eye that is needed for crisp, central vision.
2. There are two types of AMD: Dry and Wet Macular Degeneration.
a. Dry Macular Degeneration results from degeneration of the macula. Dry AMD is the most common form.
b. Wet Macular Degeneration results from growth of blood vessels under the retina, which leaks blood and fluid.
3. Risk factors include smoking tobacco and a family history of AMD.
4. Risk of having AMD is reduced by:
a. Avoiding smoking
b. Regular exercise
c. Healthy diet
d. Maintenance of normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels
5. Some symptoms of AMD include:
a. Blurry vision
b. Bright colors appear dull
c. Difficulty recognizing faces
d. Lines appear crooked
e. The appearance of a blind spot in the visual field that distorts vision
f. Some patients suffer from visual hallucinations
It is important to realize that if only one eye is affected, the symptoms will not be as apparent because the good eye will compensate for the affected eye. Regular eye exams are crucial in detecting AMD.
6. There are three stages of AMD
a. Early AMD
b. Intermediate AMD
c. Late AMD
All stages can be diagnosed with an eye exam. Early and Intermediate AMD do no have severe vision loss, which is evident in Late AMD.
7. AMD is detected during routine eye exams, which include visual acuity tests and dilated eye exams.
8. Taking vitamins can reduce AMD progression. For some, the implantation of a telescopic lens in one eye may be an option..
9. Those who experience vision loss can undergo vision rehabilitation. It is important to talk to your eye doctor to explore the different ways to deal with vision loss.
10. There are many ways to cope with AMD:
a. An eye doctor can give an eye prescription to deal with changing vision
b. Use magnifiers to make text and shapes bigger
c. Use audio systems on computers to help with reading
d. Use bright lights
It is very important to have yearly eye exams over the age of 50 to detect AMD in its early stages. The eye doctor can diagnose and prescribe proper treatment for AMD. Contact the Raleigh Eye Center for an appointment if you notice any blurred vision.