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Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration: Am I At Risk?

Macular Degeneration: Am I At Risk?

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a condition that affects the central part of your retina called the macula, which provides your sharp central vision. It is a leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years of age and older.

There are 2 types of AMD:

Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow causing slow central vision loss. There is currently no treatment.

Wet AMD is less common, but much more serious. With wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. You can lose vision faster with AMD than with dry AMD.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors for developing AMD:

  • Age over 50 years old
  • Smoking
  • Family history of AMD
  • Hypertension
  • Poor diet that is high in saturated fat
  • Being overweight

Lowering Your Risk of AMD

Although there is no cure for AMD, here are some things to incorporate into your lifestyle to lower your risk:

  • A balanced, nutrient-rich diet of dark leafy greens, colorful fruits and vegetables, and fish have been shown beneficial for people with AMD.
  • Quit Smoking.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Good blood pressure control.
  • UV protection. Wearing sunglasses when outdoors.

For Dry AMD there is no way to treat it yet. However, studies have shown that people with mild to moderate AMD benefited from taking AREDS supplements. Please consult with your eye doctor first before starting these supplements since not all forms of AMD benefit from these supplements.

For Wet AMD, medications called anti-VEGF drugs are administered by an ophthalmologist to help treat and slow down any leaking from blood vessels. Laser surgery is also used to treat some types of wet AMD.

Early Detection is Key!

Since AMD causes your vision to deteriorate over time, sometimes you may not notice these changes. Many people do not realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. Treating early symptoms can help slow or stop further loss of sight. Remember to schedule your annual eye exam to preserve your vision!

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