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Home » What's New » The Aging Eye: Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

The Aging Eye: Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)


How many individuals are aware that age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of loss of vision in adults over age 65? AMD is a condition that causes a breakdown of the macula of the retina which is the part of the eye that is responsible for clear central vision.


Could it be Age Related Macular Degeneration?


The first warning signs of age related macular degeneration are often blurriness or spots in the central vision. Since the symptoms typically come on gradually and painlessly, symptoms may not be detected until more severe vision loss is apparent. This is another reason that it is very important to have a routine eye exam, particularly once you turn 65.


AMD Risk Factors


A number of risk factors have been identified including Caucasian race, being over the age of 65, being a cigarette smoker, obesity, high blood pressure and genetics. If you have a number of these risk factors, yearly eye examinations are essential. Speaking to your eye doctor about proper nutrition which includes antioxidants and omega-3 is also advised.


Two Kinds of AMD


In general, AMD is usually categorized as either wet or dry. The dry version is more commonplace and is theorized to be caused by advanced age and thinning of the macular tissues or pigment deposits in the macula. Wet AMD, also called neovascular age related macular degeneration, is caused from the growth of new blood vessels beneath the retina which seep blood, which kills the retinal cells and results in blind spots in the central vision. Typically wet AMD leads to more severe vision loss.


Can AMD Be Cured?


While there is no cure for macular degeneration, certain treatments exist that can halt or minimize loss of vision. Depending on the type of macular degeneration the course of treatment may involve laser surgery or medical injections or in some cases, nutritional supplements. In all instances, early diagnosis and treatment is essential. Speak to your optometrist also about devices to help you deal with any visual difficulty that you have already sustained. Such loss of sight that can't be corrected by the usual measures such as glasses, contacts or surgical procedures is known as low vision. There are a growing number of low vision aids that can be used today that can greatly assist in maintaining independence in daily activities.


Learn about the risks and symptoms of AMD before it's too late. Visit your optometrist to find out more about AMD and low vision.