We are all about keeping our eyes on vision health, which is why we decided to review what you should know about age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and ways you can lower your risk.
What is AMD?
For starters, what you should know about age-related macular degeneration is what it is exactly. To summarize, it’s the gradual loss of central vision due to the deterioration of the macula.
The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for controlling sharp, straight-ahead vision. Age-related Macular Degeneration is actually quite common and is the leading cause of permanent vision loss in people 50 and older.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at what you should know about age-related macular degeneration, including the risk factors, symptoms, types and ways you can protect your eyes.
When it comes to AMD, there are three main risk factors: age, race and smoking. While you can’t control two out of the three risk factors, you can stop smoking if you are a smoker.
In terms of age and race, the older you get, the more at risk you are. Caucasian people are also more at risk than other races.
Genetics may also play a risky role, so it’s important to know your family’s vision history as well.
Unfortunately, there are usually little-to-no symptoms in the early stages of AMD. There is generally no pain, and oftentimes vision is not affected at this stage.
Eventually, however, suffers will notice a loss of vision, or things will appear to be warped or dull. Individuals may start to see a blurry area near the center of their vision as well.
Types of AMD
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: wet and dry.
Dry AMD is the most common. It’s when the tissues of the macula become thinner over time while building up a fatty substance within it.
Wet AMD is when the eye tries to self-repair and grows unstable blood vessels, which tend to leak. This leads to scarring and further vision loss. Wet AMD also tends to progress faster than dry AMD.
What can you do to help?
The good news is all hope is not lost! While there is not a cure for AMD, there are steps you can take to lower your risk for developing it.
The most important thing you can do is visit your eye doctor regularly—as in at least once a year—for a comprehensive eye exam. Early detection is key when it comes to slowing AMD down.
Our Louisville clinic uses AdaptDx Pro, a screening device for AMD. Learn more about it here.
Other ways you can help protect your vision include healthy eating and regular exercise. Be sure to add fish, eggs, leafy greens and carrots to your diet, for example. For more on what to not eat, check out our blog on that very topic!