Did you know that February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month? Age-Related Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in adults over 60 and affects over a million Americans. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of macular degeneration, its symptoms, and how it is treated. We will also provide tips for protecting your eyesight.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
The macula is the part of your eye where your central and color vision originates. AMD is a complex condition in which degenerative protein/lipids (known as “drusen”) deposit beneath the retina. These deposits can be observed early in macular degeneration. The retinal structural support system breaks down as the disease advances, allowing abnormal blood vessels to grow and further disrupt the retinal cells. Central vision will be lost when these blood vessels grow in the macula.
Types of AMD
There are many variants of macular degeneration, but the most common types are dry AMD and wet AMD.
- Dry macular degeneration is caused by drusen deposits which break down to create a blind spot in central vision.
- Wet macular degeneration occurs when protein-rich blood vessels grow beneath the retina and between the retinal.
What are the symptoms of AMD?
Because AMD is a progressive disease, someone might not notice any symptoms or danger signals until it has affected both eyes. They may be unable to see clearly while driving, have trouble recognizing people’s faces, or have difficulties reading. Changes in how you perceive color are also possible as AMD affects your central vision.
Risk Factors for AMD?
- Aging – More than two million Americans over the age of 50 are affected. When individuals reach the age of 65, the prevalence of AMD in the United States is around 6%. It primarily affects people over 60.
- Family History
- Female – women are more likely to be affected than men
- Struggling with heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol
- Poor nutritional diet
- Hyperopia and light-colored iris
- Smokers have a significantly increased risk
How is AMD treated or managed?
AMD is a progressive disease with no known cure. Depending on the type and degree of macular degeneration you have, various innovative and exciting treatment choices can help prevent future vision loss. Talk to your eye doctor about all of the options.
You can also help by taking vitamins and eating the right foods.
- Vitamin C 500 mg daily
- Vitamin E 400 IU daily
- Beta-carotene 15 mg (25,000 IU) daily
- Zinc oxide 80 mg daily
- Cupric oxide 2 mg daily
- Carrots – Carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, which the body uses to make vitamin A.
- Kale and Spinach – These leafy greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants concentrated in the eyes. They help filter certain blue lights that can cause damage to vision.
- Red Peppers – They’ve got vitamin C and provide about 158 percent of the recommended daily intake.
- Salmon – Salmon and other fatty fish, like sardines, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help to keep your eyes lubricated.
- According to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, oysters – Zinc is abundant in oysters, which demonstrated that ingesting 40 to 80 mg of zinc daily can slow the progression of AMD.
Living with AMD
Adapting activities and elements of daily life can, among other things, guarantee safety, improve quality of life, and allow you to do many of the things you enjoy. Ask your eye doctor about courses for individuals with AMD or contact organizations that help people with low vision. An occupational therapist or qualified low-vision specialist may also be a tremendous asset in making changes to everyday activities more manageable.
If someone you know has been diagnosed with macular degeneration, don’t despair. There are many adaptive techniques and devices that you can utilize to cope with the condition. Talk with an eye doctor about the current stage of the disease, what this means for vision impairment, the projected course of progression, and potential specialists that can help make the necessary adaptations to help make life a little more visually manageable.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that causes damage to the retina and affects your central vision. AMD can lead to blurred or distorted vision, especially when reading and driving at night. Thankfully, treatments are available for this progressive disease. If you notice any symptoms, we encourage you to take them seriously and visit an eye care professional as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are many things people living with AMD can do to maintain their independence and continue participating in activities they love! Share on social media how vital early detection is by sharing this blog online.