Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of loss of vision in individuals aged 50 and above. AMD is characterized by a deterioration of the macula of the retina which is responsible for clear central vision.
Could it be Age Related Macular Degeneration?
The first signs of age related macular degeneration include blurriness or dark spots in the central vision. Because the symptoms typically come on at a slow pace without any pain, signs may not be perceived until more severe vision loss is apparent. This is why it is very important to book a routine eye examination, especially once you turn 65.
What are the Risk Factors for AMD?
A number of risk factors have been identified including being Caucasian, being over the age of 50, smoking and genetics. If you are at greater risk, annual eye examinations are essential. Learning about proper nutrition with your optometrist is also a good way to protect yourself.
Dry AMD vs. Wet AMD
In general, macular degeneration is usually categorized as either dry or wet. Dry macular degeneration is diagnosed more often and is theorized to be a result of aging and thinning of the macular tissues or pigment deposits in the macula. The wet form, also known as neovascular age related macular degeneration, is caused when new blood vessels grow beneath the retina which seep blood and fluid, killing the cells and creating blind spots. Typically wet macular degeneration causes more severe vision loss.
Although there are treatments that can delay the progression of macular degeneration, there is no cure at this time. Depending on the type of macular degeneration the course of treatment may involve UV 400 protection which is available in clear lenses and sunglasses options, nutritional supplements, laser surgery or medical injections. In all instances, early diagnosis and treatment is essential. An eye doctor may also be able to recommend devices to help you cope with any visual difficulty that you have already sustained. Vision loss that is not able to be corrected by the usual measures such as glasses, contacts or surgery is known as low vision. There are many low vision aids available today to help individuals to preserve self-sufficiency 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, particularly if you are 50 or older.