February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness month and at Optikk 30A we are dedicated to raising awareness about important eye health topics.
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50 affecting more than 10 million Americans. Macular Degeneration is a deterioration of the macula, which is the part of your retina responsible for your central vision and maintaining sharp 20/20 vision.
There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration. The most common form is Dry (atrophic) macular degeneration and Wet (exudative) macular degeneration. Symptoms may not be present in the early stages and can range from mild to very severe.
Symptoms of AMD include:
Straight lines appear wavy
Difficulty seeing at a distance
Decreased ability to distinguish colors
Inability to see details, such as faces or words in a book
Dark or empty spots block the center of your vision
Unfortunately, some risk factors associated with AMD are out of your control. These risk factors include age, gender and genetics. Signs of this ocular disease are present in about 14% of people under the age 64, 20% ages 65 - 75 and up to 37% over 75 years of age. AMD is also more common in women.
What can you do to help prevent AMD? Kick the nicotine habit, smoking significantly increases your risk of AMD. Manage your high blood pressure. Wear sunglasses to protect your retina from harmful UV rays. Eat a diet rich in leafy greens which contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Stay active with regular exercise. Talk to your optometrist about an appropriate supplement.
While there are treatments to slow the progression of the wet form of macular degeneration, there are no treatments for the dry form and no treatments to reverse the damage already caused by AMD. As the saying goes, prevention is the best medicine.
Call your local optometrist or contact us to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. Keeping regularly scheduled eye exams will allow early detection of common and age related eye illness.