If you are over the age of 50, you may have noticed your vision isn’t as sharp as it once was. You may even have to reach for your readers to see the text on your phone or read a menu when dining out. But did you know you are also at greater risk of developing an eye disease called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)? Since February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, we want to take some time to educate our patient family about this sight-stealing eye condition you should be aware of as you age.
At Eye Medical Clinic, we are passionately dedicated to helping our patients enjoy healthy vision for a lifetime. This includes educating you about the various eye conditions that have the potential to rob you of your precious sight. AMD is one such condition.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Age-Related Macular Degeneration, also called AMD, is an eye disease that has a strong hereditary factor. It affects your central vision, where sharpest vision occurs, causing difficulty with daily tasks like driving, reading and even recognizing faces. AMD, in its later stages, is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss, and nearly 20 million people in the United States are living with some type of age-related macular degeneration.
There are two main types of AMD. The most common form is “dry” AMD, and it is caused by the appearance of small yellow deposits called drusen, which form under the retina. Most cases of AMD are the dry kind, which typically progresses slowly over a period of years. “Wet” AMD is more rare and typically causes rapid and more serious vision loss. With wet AMD, tiny blood vessels grow under and into the retina, breaking, leaking and ultimately causing an irreversible loss of vision.
How Will I Know If I Have AMD?
If you’re in the early stages of macular degeneration, you may not have any noticeable symptoms. The first sign you may notice is a gradual or sudden change in the quality of your vision or straight lines appearing distorted to you. This can gradually turn into a dramatic loss of your central vision.
How is AMD Treated?
Early detection of AMD is the key to protecting your vision as you age. At Eye Medical Clinic, treatment for dry AMD begins with having regular eye exams, especially for our patients who are age 60 or older. Although there is no cure for AMD, timely treatment can prevent or slow the progression of the disease.
If detected, our specialists may prescribe a combination of nutritional supplements, including a supplement called AREDS2, which is a special combination of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to slow the progression of dry macular degeneration.
Wet AMD treatment can include a number of options, including intravitreal injections that inhibit the growth of the abnormal blood cells that cause wet AMD. Our experienced eye doctors can help you determine the best course of treatment for your unique condition.
Am I at Risk for AMD?
AMD runs in families, but beyond the hereditary element, other risk factors associated with age-related macular degeneration include:
- Age (50 and older)
- A high-fat diet
- High blood pressure
Especially if other people in your family have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, it is extremely important to proactively do what you can to prevent the disease by eating a healthy diet, avoiding smoking, and, most importantly, having annual comprehensive eye exams.
Comprehensive Eye Care to Help You See Every Moment
Dr. Tamer Hadi is our retina specialist and he is an experienced, board-certified and skilled eye surgeon with fellowship training in vitreoretinal conditions. Dr. Hadi specializes in the management of all diseases of the vitreous and retina, including ARMD, diabetic retinopathy, and vein occlusions, as well as mechanical, vascular, infectious and inflammatory diseases of the eye.
Since many eye diseases and conditions come with no early warning signs, an annual comprehensive eye exam enables early detection of conditions like macular degeneration, diabetic eye changes, glaucoma and more. Routine eye examinations are the best safeguard for maintaining good vision at any stage of life. Schedule one today and let the team at Eye Medical Clinic help you See Every Moment with the vision you deserve.