Among older Americans, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness, yet many are not aware of its danger. This February, the team at VisionPoint Eye Center is encouraging our patients to become more educated about AMD.
How AMD Damages Vision
Age-related macular degeneration is a condition that deteriorates the center of the retina, known as the macula. The macula allows us to see fine details clearly. When the macula doesn’t function correctly, we experience blurring or darkness in the center of our vision. AMD affects both distance and near vision and can make some activities, like driving, reading, or threading a needle, difficult or impossible. Words on a page may look blurred or dark, or empty areas appear in the center of vision. Straight lines look distorted, as in this diagram:
AMD Risk Factors
Besides affecting older populations, smokers, obese individuals, and those with high blood pressure are at increased risk of developing AMD. AMD also seems to be hereditary and occurs in Caucasians and females in particular.
What You Can Do About AMD
The two most common types of age-related macular degeneration are dry (atrophic) and wet (exudative). Despite ongoing medical research, there is no cure yet for dry macular degeneration. Dry AMD is often treated by increasing your antioxidant intake with vitamins.
Wet AMD requires a more “hands-on” treatment by using anti-VEGF drug eye injections. VEGF stands for “vascular endothelial growth factor.” VEGF is a protein produced in your body that creates new blood vessels. When wet AMD is present, these fragile blood vessels can eventually lead to scar tissue accumulating on the retina. This process used to be a death sentence for your eyesight. However, with anti-VEGF drugs, doctors can now stave off the effects of wet AMD.
The most important thing you need to remember about age-related macular degeneration or any other eye issue is that early detection is the best way to save your vision. Most AMD damage is irreversible.
Scheduling regular eye appointments at VisionPoint Eye Center is an easy and reliable way to ensure your sight is protected.
Schedule an appointment at VisionPoint Eye Center in Bloomington, IL, today! There’s never been a better time to make your eyes a priority!