February: Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

My Eyelab Age-Related Macular Degeneration

 

In the eye health community, February is an important month, as it is Age-Related Macular Degeneration awareness month. Based on a recent statistic, over 1.5 million Americans have Age-Related Macular Degeneration, also known as AMD. In an effort to increase awareness and inform our customers of AMD, we’ve created a blog post that outlines what Age-Related Macular Degeneration is, and how your vision is affected by it.

When your eye doctor mentions Age-Related Macular Degeneration, they are referring to the loss of central vision in both eyes. AMD is known as the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 65. In some cases, AMD is known to progress slowly, while in other instances it progresses at a quicker rate. In order to combat the progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, it is important to get a yearly dilated eye exam, so that if it is present, it can be treated early on.

Signs and Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The symptoms most commonly known with  AMD are:

  • Blurry Vision
  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • Straight lines seem wavy
  • A dark, blind spot, appears in your central vision
  • Loss of central vision

Within Age-Related Macular Degeneration, there are two types:

  • Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration: This type of AMD is also  known as atrophic AMD, and is the most common form of the condition. In this instance, a gradually thinning of cells in the macula cause gradual vision loss. People who suffer from Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration experience blurred central vision of blind spots, macular deterioration and the chances of it progressing into wet AMD at any time.
  • Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration: This type of AMD happens when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid and blood into the macula. This causes visual distortions and is known to progress rapidly.

Risk Factors for Developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The following factors are known to increase the chances of developing AMD:

  • Age (People over the age of 50)
  • Family history of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • History of smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure/ Cholesterol
  • Deficiency of vitamins prevalent in fruits and vegetables

Diagnosing AMD

As mentioned previously, the best way to diagnose Age-Related Macular Degeneration is with a dilated comprehensive eye exam. This is conducted by placing eyedrops that widen your pupils and allow the doctor to examine your optic nerve and retina.

Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration

When it comes to treating AMD, the treatment will depend on what type of AMD is present. With Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration, there are no specific treatments. The best way to treat it is with early detection. When it comes to Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration, there are various treatment options such as laser surgery, injections and photodynamic therapy.

 

Schedule your next eye exam at a My Eyelab location near you!