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Did You Know That February Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month?

It’s hard to find an adult that doesn’t have any issues with their eyesight. However, not a lot of people know how important it is to seek treatment as soon as you notice eyesight problems. That’s why February is the month when we raise awareness of ARMD, low vision, and why it’s so important to seek treatment.

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration, or ARMD for short, is an eye disorder. Particularly, it’s a dysfunction of the macula, part of the eye responsible for color and central vision. Proteins and lipids that collect under the retina are early telltale signs of ARMD. Over time, due to the buildup, the retina’s support system breaks down. Therefore, the blood vessels in the retina either grow abnormally or leak blood, which leads to further damage.

This disease is one of the top causes of vision loss in people over 50. The three common types of ARMD are the dry type, the wet type, and geographic atrophy. The dry variety only affects pigment and drusen deposits, and there’s no leakage from the blood vessels. Wet ARMD is characterized by blood vessel leakage and growth. Drusen deposits are also possible, although not necessary. The symptoms of the last type, geographic atrophy, are vision loss due to the breaking of the retinal support system. However, enlarged blood vessels and drusens are highly uncommon for this type.

What Are the ARMD Risk Factors?

Several risk factors can cause or worsen ARMD. Firstly, eyesight worsens with age, and people over 50 are much more susceptible to this disease. Secondly, this disorder usually runs in the family. If your close relatives struggle with ARMD, there’s a good chance you will too. Women are more likely to get ARMD than men, and Caucasians are more susceptible than other races.

Additionally, some of the risk factors include a preexisting eye condition such as hyperopia and light eyes. Cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure can also lead to this disorder. That’s because the blood pressure rises in the blood vessels of your eyes and leads to damage. Lastly, if you have ARMD, smoking can cause it to progress more quickly.

How Can You Treat ARMD?

If you’re showing early signs of ARMD, it’s important to take care of your overall health. Doing so will prevent the disease from progressing faster. The most important thing you need to do if you have ARMD is to stop smoking. Additionally, taking vitamins that aid in eyesight maintenance can be quite beneficial. Beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and zinc oxide are particularly important. Finally, there are plenty of treatment options for ARMD. Depending on the severity of the disease, your eye doctor will suggest a treatment plan that works for you.

Why Is Low Vision Awareness So Important?

If your eyesight is poorer than 20/60, you have low vision. Alternatively, if your eyesight is worse than 20/200, you’re considered legally blind. Not many people know how integral it is to treat your eyes well. They often neglect their eyesight, thinking it’s not too important. However, doing so can lead to deterioration of the eyes. That’s why having a low vision awareness month is essential. Introducing people to the importance of frequent eyesight checkups can prevent a lot of potentially irreparable damage.

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Posted in: Eye Care Services, Macular Degeneration