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Lougheed Town Centre Optometry and Optical in Burnaby, BC
Located in Burnaby, BC
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Lougheed Town Centre Optical in Burnaby, BC
Home » What's New » AMD Awareness Could Save Your Vision

AMD Awareness Could Save Your Vision

It’s that time of the year again. Each February, the optometric community bands together to create awareness about age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a leading cause of vision loss for people 50 years and older; early detection plays a key role in the outcome of the disease. That’s why bringing awareness to the disease and its risk factors is so important. 

Macular degeneration is a disease that damages the macula, which is a small area in the center of the retina responsible for sharp, clear central vision. The disease comes in two forms, wet AMD and dry AMD. The most common form, dry AMD, which affects around 80% of AMD patients, is when the macula gradually thins, and small clusters of protein called drusen begin to grow. Drusen result from cells in the macula that cannot rid themselves of metabolic waste called lipofuscin. The lipofuscin accumulates as drusen which causes a gradual vision decline. 

Dry AMD can turn into wet AMD when abnormal new blood vessels grow through breaks in a membrane layer of the thinning macula. The fragile blood vessels leak fluid into the macula, causing rapid decrease in central vision.The wet form is less common, yet it can cause a faster and more drastic vision loss. If a person has dry AMD which turns into wet AMD, this should be treated as soon as possible, as within days this can cause permanent scarring. Fortunately, there is effective treatment for wet AMD if detected before scarring arises. 

Both forms of AMD result in a loss of central vision, while peripheral vision stays intact. Symptoms can present as difficulty focusing on objects in front of you, or a blurred or dulled area in the central visual field which leads to having trouble reading, doing close work, driving or even recognizing faces. With time, the size of the blurred area can grow and eventually develop into black spots in central vision. Oftentimes patients don’t even notice symptoms until a significant amount of damage has been done. This is why regular eye exams are critical, especially if you are at risk. 

While AMD alone won’t cause complete blindness, it can cause a permanent, total loss of central vision if not treated. Vision loss can lead to a condition called low vision which can have a very serious impact on daily living and require a lot of assistance both by vision devices and the help of others. 

Are You at Risk? 

As it is an age-related disease, age is a significant risk factor for AMD, specifically once you reach 60. However, age is not the only risk factor. While some risk factors for AMD cannot be controlled there are lifestyle factors that you can change to prevent AMD.

Other than age, risk factors include:

  • Family history: If you have a family history of AMD, you are more at risk. Research has identified at least 20 genes that are associated with AMD, showing there is a genetic factor.
  • Race: Caucasian descent is a higher risk factor for AMD, and in fact, Caucasians with light irises have an increased risk from age 50.
  • Smoking: Smoking doubles your risk of developing AMD. 
  • Overweight/Obesity: Research shows that being overweight is a risk factor for AMD.
  • Having heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol increase your risks.
  • Diet: An unhealthy diet rich in saturated fats is a significant risk factor.
  • Early exposure to UV light and blue hazard light (especially with the younger generation having increased exposure to digital devices) can cause early onset AMD. 

Here are some lifestyle steps you can take to reduce your risk of AMD:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids, (from fatty fish or flax seeds), leafy greens and colorful fruits and vegetables. 
  • Know your family history.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Protect your eyes using UV protection and blue blocker coatings on eyeglasses.
  • Get regular eye exams.

In addition to a comprehensive eye exam, your doctor may be able to test for certain risk factors. For example, there is now technology available that can test for lutein levels via technology such as QuantifEye and Macuscope, (low lutein can indicate increased risk). In addition, genetic testing is also now available through a simple cheek swab to determine an individual’s risk for developing AMD. 

Treatment

There is no known cure for AMD, however there are treatments available that may slow the progression of the disease. For dry AMD, studies (AREDS and AREDS2) have concluded that a particular high-dose combination of nutritional supplements taken daily can slow the disease. The combo includes vitamins C and E, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Zinc and Copper. For wet AMD, the goal is to reduce the growth of abnormal blood vessels and the leakage that takes place and this is done through certain medications called anti-VEGFs which are injected into the eye or with laser surgery. 

Untreated macular degeneration can have devastating effects on your independence and quality of life. If you are 50 or over, speak to your eye doctor about your risk factors and what you can do to prevent AMD. 

Clinic Protocols and Patient Guidelines – COVID -19

We have been working diligently to establish protocols to keep both our patients and staff safe during this time and for the foreseeable future. The following protocols and guidelines have been established to ensure the highest level of sanitation possible.

Clinic Hygiene and Sanitization Protocols

 

Arrival to the Clinic

ONLY scheduled patients are permitted to enter the clinic. If you were driven to the clinic, please ask your family/friend to wait for you in the car. Please enter the clinic no earlier than 5 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.

If you arrive late for your appointment, it may have to be re-scheduled as we must keep on time to ensure enough time for sanitation between patients and avoid overcrowding at the reception area.

Please wear a MASK before entering the clinic.

If you do not have a mask, we will be offering them for a nominal fee.

 

Further Safety Precautions

Touchless Payment

Currently, we are only accepting Interac, Mastercard and Visa cards. If you have extended health insurance, Please inform our staff with all the details. We deal with Sun life, Great-West Life, Blue Cross and Manulife we will bill your insurance first and then charge your credit card the remaining balance.

Physical Distancing

Please be mindful to keep 2M distance if you run into other patients in the reception room. Stand on the floor decals. We are aiming to stagger appointment to avoid congregation in the waiting room.

Sanitation time between each treatment has been scheduled and we are using hospital grade disinfectants to sanitize all high touchpoints, tables, light switches, door handles etc

Practitioner PPE

We will be wearing masks, and some will be wearing face shields, gloves, and scrubs.

Paying for your treatment

 

Booking Appointments

Please email the clinic at info@lougheedoptical.com or call at (604) 420-2115 for your future appointments.

24 Hours Prior to your scheduled appointment

24 hrs. prior to your appointment, you will receive your 24-hour reminder email. It will have a link to the THRIVE BC COVID- 19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool. The link is: https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en IF you answer YES to any of the questions, please call the clinic to reschedule your appointment no earlier than 2 weeks. This is extremely important for the safety and protection of our patients, therapist, and our families.

Upon the arrival of your appointment, if we notice any flu-like symptoms or through conversation realize that you have possibly engaged with friends/family who may have been exposed to COVID- 19, we will respectfully ask you to reschedule the appointment.

Product Purchase

Our Staff will assist you in Choosing your Eye Wear, Please DO NOT HANDLE THE FRAMES FROM THE DISPLAY. Once you have made your Frame selection the remaining frames will be sanitized before being placed on the frame bars.

These protocols are in place to ensure the health and safety of you, your loved ones, our staff, our practitioners, and their families.

We thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Lougheed Town Centre Optical & Optometry

Located at 9855 Austin Rd, Ste 147, Burnaby, BC V3J 1N4

Phone: 604-420-2115

We are back! We are now open to our normal business hours. Please request an appointment here or call 604-670-3329. We are looking forward to seeing you again. Thank you, and stay safe.