Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a foremost cause of loss of vision in individuals aged 65 and above. AMD is a condition that causes a breakdown of the macula in the eye which is responsible for clear vision in the center of your field of view.
Indications of Age Related Macular Degeneration
Early signs of age related macular degeneration include distorted eyesight and spots in the center of vision. Due to the fact that the symptoms typically come on at a slow pace without any pain, symptoms are sometimes not observed until the disease has progressed. This is why every individual 65 and over should be sure to schedule a routine eye examination on a regular basis.
Risk Factors for AMD
A number of risk factors have been determined including being Caucasian, being over the age of 65, being a cigarette smoker, obesity, high blood pressure and family history. Any individual that is at increased risk should make sure to have an annual eye exam. Learning about proper nutritional changes with your eye doctor is also a good way to protect yourself.
Dry AMD vs. Wet AMD
In general, AMD is usually diagnosed as either dry or wet. The dry form is more common and is theorized to be caused by advanced age and thinning of the macular tissues or pigment deposits in the macula. Wet AMD, referred to as neovascular age related macular degeneration, results from the growth of new blood vessels beneath the retina which seep blood, causing the cells to die and resulting in blind spots. Often wet AMD leads to more serious vision loss.
Although there are treatments that can reduce the loss of sight that results from macular degeneration, there is currently no cure for the disease. Depending on whether one has dry or wet macular degeneration the treatment may involve nutritional supplements, laser surgery or certain medications that stop abnormal blood vessel growth. In any case, early detection greatly improves the likelihood of successful treatment. Speak to your optometrist also about devices to help you adapt to any vision loss that you have already sustained. Vision loss that can't be recovered by eyeglasses, contacts or surgery is called low vision. There are a number of low vision devices that can be used today that can help individuals to retain autonomy in daily activities.
It's possible to protect your eyesight by being aware of the risk factors and symptoms of AMD. Visit your eye doctor to learn more about AMD and low vision.