What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
- Posted on: Mar 15 2022
Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease that blurs people’s central vision. It is a common condition that often leads to vision loss in people over the age of 55. And although it doesn’t cause complete blindness, losing central vision makes it hard to drive, read, see faces, or fix things around the house. That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs of AMD in the early stages and seek help.
Types of AMD
Generally speaking, there are two main types of AMD—wet and dry. Most people have dry AMD, which occurs as the macula gets thinner due to age. This type of AMD develops in stages and progresses slowly. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for late dry AMD, meaning that prevention is vital.
Wet AMD is a far less common variation of late dry AMD that causes faster vision loss. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels start to grow in the back of your eye and eventually damage the macula. It’s important to remember that dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration can transform into wet AMD at any stage. Luckily, unlike its dry counterpart, wet AMD is treatable.
And lastly, there is another form of AMD called Stargardt disease that affects young adults and children.
More often than not, the symptoms of AMD depend on the stage of the disease. Early on, you might not notice any signs that you are suffering from macular degeneration. In fact, most people don’t know that they have AMD until they get diagnosed, or it severely affects their vision. However, there are a few symptoms that you should not ignore:
- Less clear vision
- Dark, blurry areas in the center of your vision
- Worse or different color perception
Keep in mind that if you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact an eye doctor immediately.
There is still a lot of debate on the causes of AMD. Yet, the consensus is that macular degeneration is related to your genes. More specifically, if someone in your family has AMD, your risk of developing it at an old age is higher. Other risk factors include smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure, and having light eyes.
Even though there is no cure for AMD, some treatments slow its development or reduce its effects. These include:
- Laser therapy
- Anti-angiogenesis drugs
- Photodynamic laser therapy
- Low vision aids
The only way to reduce the risk of AMD and slow it down is by taking supplements of vitamin C, E, zinc, copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Additionally, eye doctors can check for macular degeneration during a comprehensive dilated eye exam. You should note that, if discovered early, you can keep the disease under control with the help of special medication and reduce the risk of losing your vision. So make sure to get an eye exam at least once a year to discover eye-related diseases and get the appropriate treatment before they damage your vision.
Tagged with: Macular Degeneration