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Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness

Are you aware that age related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading reasons for loss of vision in adults aged 65 and over? AMD is characterized by a degeneration of the macula in the eye which functions to allow clear central vision.

Could it be Age Related Macular Degeneration?

The first warning signs of AMD include fuzzy or spots in the central vision. Because the vision loss typically occurs gradually without any pain, signs are sometimes not observed until the disease has reached a later stage. This is why every individual 65 and over should make sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis.

Age Related Macular Degeneration Risk Factors

If you are of Caucasian decent, over the age of 65, who smokes, eats an unhealthy diet or has family members that have had AMD, your chances of developing AMD are increased. Any individual that possesses these risk factors should be sure to have an annual eye exam. Discussing proper nutritional changes with your optometrist is also a good way to protect yourself.

Dry Macular Degeneration vs. Wet Macular Degeneration

Generally, macular degeneration is usually diagnosed as either dry or wet. The dry form is more commonplace and is theorized to be a result of aging and macular tissue thinning or deposits of pigment in the macula. The wet form, referred to as neovascular age related macular degeneration, is caused when new blood vessels grow beneath the retina which seep blood, which destroys the retinal cells and causes blind spots in the central vision. Typically wet AMD results in more serious vision loss.

Can AMD Be Cured?

Although 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. For any treatment to succeed, early detection greatly enhances the likelihood of successful treatment. An optometrist may also be able to recommend devices to help you cope with any visual difficulty that you have already sustained. Such loss of sight that is not able to be improved by the usual measures such as eyeglasses, contacts or surgical procedures is called low vision. There are many low vision aids available today that can make everyday activities easier.

It's possible to save your eyesight by being knowledgeable about the risks and signs of AMD. Don't delay in scheduling your yearly eye exam, especially if you are over 65.

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