What is Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
AMD is a disorder of the macula. The macula is the part of your retina where your central and color vision calls home. AMD is a complex disorder where degenerative protein/lipids (called "drusen") deposit under the retina. These deposits are seen in early macular degeneration. As the disease progresses, the retina's structural support system breaks down and can allow abnormal blood vessels to grow or leak fluid and further disrupt the retinal cells. If these blood vessels grow in the macula, then you will lose your central.
AMD is the leading cause of central vision loss in Americans over 50 years old. There are two types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD):
Dry or Nonexudative – This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form.
Click the American Academy of Ophthalmology link and learn the dry form of age-related macular degeneration.
Wet or Exudative – This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina.
What are the risk factors?
- Age: AMD affects more than 2 million Americans over 50 years old. The prevalence of ARMD in the USA is around 6% when 65 and almost 20% when 75 years old.
- Genetics: have a family history of AMD
- Smoking: Increases your risk for progression
- Diet: eating foods high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
- Have Certain Diseases: hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular disease
- Are Overweight
What is the treatment?
Depending on your type and severity of macular degeneration, many new and exciting treatment options can not only prevent further vision loss, but they can help you regain vision, sometimes even back to 20/20. Discuss your options with your eye doctor.
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Keep up with your eye exams, maintain healthy habits and good safety practices. Your eyes will love you for it!
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