AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over 50 years old. Know your health and family history, and educate yourself on this disorder–it’s important to protect your vision! Age-Related Macular Degeneration / Low Vision Awareness Month is sponsored by Prevent Blindness America.
What is Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
AMD is a disorder of the macula. The macula is the part of your retina where your central and color vision comes from. AMD is a disorder where degenerative protein/lipids deposit under the retina. These deposits are seen in early macular degeneration. As the disease progresses, the structural support system of the retina breaks down and can allow abnormal blood vessels to grow, or leak fluid and further disrupt the retinal cells. If these blood vessels grow in the macula then you will lose your central vision.
AMD is the leading cause of central vision loss in Americans over 50 years old.
What are the risk factors?
Age: Affects more than 2 million Americans over 50 years old. Prevalence of ARMD in the USA is around 6% when 65 and almost 20% when 75 years old.
Genetics: Family history (many genes being studied)
Smoking: Increases your risk for progression
Other eye conditions: hyperopia and light-colored iris
Systemic diseases associated: hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular disease
Gender: women are more likely to be affected than men
UV light – no significant proven risk but caution and sunglasses advised.
What is the treatment?
One of the mainstays of treatment is 1) quitting smoking and 2) AREDS vitamins. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) proved that certain vitamins can decrease your risk of progressing to advanced forms of macular degeneration if you have early to intermediate disease by 25% over 5-10 years.
Specifically these vitamins are Vitamin C daily, Vitamin E 400 IU daily, Beta-carotene, Zinc oxide and Cupric oxide. The AREDS 2 study is underway looking at the effects of lutein and zeaxanthin and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (derived from fish oils). A healthy diet of green leafy vegetables is also recommended.
Depending on your type and severity of macular degeneration, there are many new and exciting treatment options that can not only prevent further vision loss but they can help you regain vision, sometimes even back to 20/20. Discuss your options with your eye doctor.
What is Low Vision?
Low vision is defined as 20/60 or worse– or a visual field less than 10. (Legal blindness is 20/200 or worse, or a visual field less than 20).
Why is Low Vision Awareness Important?
The most common causes of low vision in the USA are macular degeneration, followed by glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Identifying patients with low vision enables physicians to prescribe visual aids such as single vision reading glasses, high power magnifiers, and closed circuit TV monitors to assist with activities of daily living.
Where can I get help if I have Low Vision?
Talk to your EYEcenter doctor. Click here to schedule an appointment today!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.