Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye condition that affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision. It is a leading cause of vision loss among older adults and affects more than 10 million Americans.
There are two types of AMD: dry and wet.
Dry AMD is the most common type and is characterized by the gradual thinning of the macula. This can cause a gradual loss of central vision, difficulty seeing fine details, and difficulty with tasks such as reading and driving.
Wet AMD is less common but more severe. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels form under the macula and leak fluid or blood, causing damage to the retina. This can cause rapid and severe loss of central vision.
Symptoms of AMD include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Difficulty seeing fine details
- Difficulty recognizing faces
- A dark or empty area in the center of your vision
There is no cure for AMD, but early detection and treatment can slow the progression of the disease and help preserve vision. Treatment options include:
- Nutrition: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish has been shown to reduce the risk of developing AMD.
- Medication: Wet AMD can be treated with drugs that slow the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
- Photodynamic therapy: A laser is used to seal the abnormal blood vessels. Low vision
- rehabilitation: This can help the patient to make the most of the remaining vision.
Risk factors for AMD include:
- Age: The risk of AMD increases with age.
- Family history: If a close relative has AMD, you have a higher risk of developing it.
- Smoking: Smokers have a higher risk of developing AMD.
are important for early detection of AMD. If you notice any changes in your vision or if you are at a high risk for AMD, it is important to see an eye care professional immediately.
Prevention is key, it is important to protect your eyes from sun exposure and UV radiation by wearing protective eyewear, hats, and sunscreen. Additionally, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk of developing AMD.