February is not only the month of love, but it is also Age-Related Macular Degeneration awareness month. It is estimated that over 1.64 Americans have Age-Related Macular Degeneration, also known as AMD. In an effort to increase awareness and knowledge regarding AMD, we’ve created a blog post which outlines what Age-Related Macular Degeneration is and how it affects your vision.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is known for causing loss of central vision in both eyes, and it is also known as the leading cause of vision loss in people 65 years of age and older. AMD is known to progress slowly, but in some cases, it is known to advance at a quicker rate. Getting a yearly dilated eye exam is crucial in helping diagnose Age-Related Macular Degeneration early enough so that it can be treated properly.
SYMPTOMS AND TYPES OF AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
Some signs of Age-Related Macular Degeneration are:
- Blurry Vision
- Difficulty recognizing faces
- Straight lines seem wavy
- A dark, blind spot, appears in your central vision
- Loss of central vision
When it comes to AMD, there are two different types. There is the Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
- Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration, also known as atrophic AMD, is the most common form of the disease. In this instance, a gradually thinning of the cells in the macula occur and causes gradual vision loss.
- Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration happens when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid and blood into the macula. This form of ADM causes visual distortions and is known to progress rapidly.
RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING ADM:
- Age (People over the age of 50)
- Family history of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- History of smoking
- High Blood Pressure/ Cholesterol
- Deficiency of vitamins prevalent
DIAGNOSING AND TREATING AMD
The only way to properly diagnose Age-Related Macular Degeneration is with a dilated eye exam. This is conducted by placing eyedrops that widen your pupil and allow the doctor to examine your optic nerve and retina.
There are no specific treatments for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration, but as mentioned previously, getting a yearly dilated eye exam, wearing UV protection sunglasses, and not smoking can help reduce the chances and advancements of AMD. When it comes to wet AMD, there are various treatments. For example, people who suffer from wet AMD can get laser surgery, injections and photodynamic therapy.
Schedule your eye exam at an Optical Solutions location near you, to maintain optimal eye health and prevent the progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration!