AMD Awareness – Are You at Risk?
Our eyes help us to understand and appreciate the beauty of the world around us, truly adding to our overall quality of life. Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, can prevent you from enjoying the wonderful benefits of healthy vision. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans 65 and older, so being aware of the symptoms is important. When AMD is in its early stages, you may begin to notice that colors do not appear as vibrant, and your ability to see fine details can start to decline. Other signs include blurry or distorted vision, and straight lines might begin to appear wavy. Occasionally, some patients experience blind spots in their central vision, as well.
If you begin to notice any of the symptoms listed above, you may be suffering from AMD, and should schedule an appointment with one of our doctors as soon as possible. AMD is a serious eye disease that affects the macula in the retina, the area of the eye that controls detailed central vision and color.
How Can You Prevent AMD?
It is important to be aware that certain factors such as family genetics, age, and gender can play a role in your likelihood of developing this retinal disease. Because these risk factors are unavoidable, scheduling an eye exam regularly could potentially save your vision. Some common risks include:
- Age – People over the age of 60 are at higher risk
- Gender – Men typically have a higher risk for AMD
- Race – AMD is more common for Caucasians
Although AMD is often connected to certain genetic characteristics, there are also several lifestyle habits that can be eliminated or controlled to limit your level of risk. Obesity, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure have all been linked to increased risk of AMD. To help reduce your chances of developing macular degeneration, the physicians at The Eye Institute of Utah encourage you to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and quit smoking.
Currently, there are a few options available to treat AMD. Although the effects of AMD cannot be reversed, symptoms can often be reduced, and further damage can be avoided. These treatments can include nutritional supplements high in antioxidants and zinc, laser photodynamic therapy, and blood vessel growth inhibitor injections. The type of care your doctor selects for you will depend on whether you have wet (neovascular) or dry (non-neovascular) macular degeneration. These two types of AMD progress at different rates, and require different treatment options.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of AMD, or want to learn more about how to preserve your vision, please contact us today.