Age-Related Macular Degeneration

woman covering right eye while looking at object

One of the leading causes of vision loss in people who are age 50 or older is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This common eye condition leads to damage of a small spot near the center of the retina called the macula. The macula provides us with the ability to clearly see objects that are straight ahead.

AMD may progress very slowly, with vision loss taking a long time to occur. In some people, though, the disease may advance more quickly. It can affect one or both eyes. Some treatment options are available for later stages of AMD.

Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

One of the first symptoms of AMD is a blurry area in the center of your field of vision. Over time, this blurred region may increase in size. You may also develop blank spots near the center of your vision. In addition, objects may not be as bright as they once were.

AMD does not lead to complete loss of vision. However, the central vision that is affected by AMD is needed for many everyday activities, such as being able to read, write, recognize faces of other people, drive a car, cook or fix things around the house.

Risk Factors for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

One of the main risk factors for AMD is being over 60 years old; although, this condition can happen in younger people. Other risk factors for AMD include:

  • Smoking. Smoking tobacco can double your risk of suffering from AMD.
  • Race. Caucasians are more at risk of AMD than Hispanics/Latinos or African-Americans.
  • Family history. If someone else in your family had AMD, you are at greater risk of developing it.
  • Genetics. Almost 20 genes have been linked to an increased risk of AMD.

Certain healthy lifestyle choices may slow the progression of AMD or reduce your risk of developing it, including:

  • Not smoking
  • Eating a well-rounded diet that includes a lot of fish and green, leafy vegetables
  • Keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol at normal levels
  • Doing regular physical activity

Treatments for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

There is no treatment for AMD during the early stages. Many people have no symptoms at this point. If you have early AMD, your eye doctor may suggest a yearly — or more frequent— eye exam to see if your disease is getting worse.

For intermediate- and late-stage AMD, some research has found that high doses of certain vitamins and minerals may slow the advance of this disease. This includes vitamins C and E, zinc, copper and beta-carotene (and perhaps lutein and zeaxanthin).

These will not help you if you have early-stage AMD. They may, though, slow vision loss in the later stages. To find out if nutritional supplements are right for you, check with your ophthalmologist.

Sign up now

New Patients receive 15% OFF Second Pair of Complete Glasses!

Online Scheduling

Locations

Find us on the map

Testimonial

Featured Articles

Read up on informative topics

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Why do I need to see an eye care provider? Many “silent” diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetes, can only be detected through regular eye exams. When these conditions are discovered earlier rather than later, they become easier to treat or manage, allowing for better long-term preservation of eyesight. ...

    Read More
  • Pediatric Ophthlamology

    Ophthalmology addresses the physiology, anatomy and diseases of the eyes. Pediatric ophthalmology focuses on the eyes of children. Pediatric ophthalmologists examine children’s eyes to see if they need corrective lenses or other treatments to improve their vision. Training for Pediatric Ophthalmologists Pediatric ...

    Read More
  • Allergies

    Caused by the same irritants as hay fever, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing, eye allergies commonly affect those who suffer from other allergy symptoms. Not only do eye allergies cause discomfort, but they can also interfere with daily activities. Eye Allergy Causes Medically referred to as allergic ...

    Read More
  • Learning-Related Vision Problems

    Learning disabilities may include dyslexia, math disorder, writing disorder, auditory processing deficits, or visual processing deficits. Although each child with a learning disability is unique, many also have associated visual problems. Addressing these vision disorders may alleviate some symptoms ...

    Read More
  • UV Radiation and Your Eyes

    Optometry warnings about the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation on our eyes have not yet reached the degree of public awareness of that of skin damage. Yet, the sun can be just as damaging upon our eyes with unprotected exposure. Short-term exposure to very bright sunlight can result in a type ...

    Read More
  • How To Protect Your Eyes While Wearing Halloween-Themed Contact Lenses

    Spooky novelty contact lenses can make your Halloween costume even scarier, but are they safe? ...

    Read More
  • Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy

    Fuchs' dystrophy (pronounced fooks DIS-truh-fee) is an eye disease characterized by degenerative changes to the cornea’s innermost layer of cells. The cause for Fuchs' dystrophy is not fully understood. If your mother or father has the disease, then there is roughly a 50 percent chance that you will ...

    Read More
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    One of the leading causes of vision loss in people who are age 50 or older is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This common eye condition leads to damage of a small spot near the center of the retina called the macula. The macula provides us with the ability to clearly see objects that are straight ...

    Read More
  • Diabetic Eye Diseases

    Diabetes is a condition that involves high blood sugar (glucose) levels. This can affect many parts of the body, including the eyes. One of the most common diabetic eye diseases is diabetic retinopathy, which is also a leading cause of blindness in American adults. Diabetic Retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy ...

    Read More
  • Presbyopia

    Somewhere around the age of 40, most people’s eyes lose the ability to focus on close-up objects. This condition is called presbyopia. You may start holding reading material farther away, because it is blurry up close. Reading suddenly gives you eyestrain. You might wonder when manufacturers started ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles