Macular Degeneration Symptoms and Treatments
Age-related Macular Degeneration is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. The disease causes progressive damage to the macula, the small spot near the center of the retina required for sharp vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead.
In some people, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for a long time. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. As AMD progresses, a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision.
AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness, with no ability to see. However, the loss of central vision in AMD can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write, or do close work, such as working on a computer or fixing things around the house.
What Causes Macular Degeneration
Age is the major risk factor for AMD. The disease is most likely to occur after age 60, but it can occur earlier. Other risk factors for AMD include:
- Smoking:Research shows that smoking doubles the risk of AMD.
- Race:AMD is more common among Caucasians than among African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos
- Family History and Genetics: People with a family history of AMD are at higher risk. At last count, researchers had identified nearly 20 genes that can affect the risk of developing AMD. Many more genetic risk factors are suspected.
Researchers have found links between AMD and some lifestyle choices, such as smoking. You might be able to reduce your risk of AMD or slow its progression by making these healthy choices:
- Avoid smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Eat a healthy diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish
Macular Degeneration Treatments Available at Perrysburg Eye Center
Currently, no treatment exists for early AMD, which in many people shows no symptoms or loss of vision. Your eye care professional may recommend that you get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. The exam will help determine if your condition is advancing.
As for prevention, AMD occurs less often in people who exercise, avoid smoking, and eat nutritious foods including green leafy vegetables and fish. If you already have AMD, adopting some of these habits may help you keep your vision longer.
To cope with vision loss, you must first have an excellent support team. This team should include you, your primary eye care professional, and an optometrist or ophthalmologist specializing in low vision. Occupational therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, certified low vision therapists, counselors, and social workers are also available to help. Together, the low vision team can help you make the most of your remaining vision and maintain your independence.
Second, talk with your eye care professional about your vision problems. Vision rehabilitation programs offer a wide range of services, including training for magnifying and adaptive devices, ways to complete daily living skills safely and independently, guidance on modifying your home, and information on where to locate resources and support to help you cope with your vision loss.
Get the Help Your Eyes Need Today
If you have Age Related Macular Degeneration, or believe that your intraocular pressure has risen, it is important to get medical treatment as quickly as possible to prevent or reduce the chances of long term damage to the eye. We encourage you to contact the Perrysburg Eye center to schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists today by calling us at 419-874-3125.