February is Age-related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month
What is Age-related Macular Degeneration or AMD?
Age-related Macular Degeneration (also known as AMD) affects part of the back of the eye called the macula, the central part of the retina (the “film” lining the inside the eye). When AMD damages the macula, the center part of a person’s vision may become blurred or wavy, and a blind spot may develop. AMD can cause vision loss quickly or slowly, and can make it very hard to do things that require sharp vision, such as reading, sewing, cooking or driving; it can also make it difficult to see in dim light. The good news is that AMD almost never causes total blindness, since it usually does not hurt side (peripheral) vision.
There are two types of AMD?
Yes there are two types of AMD, dry and wet.
The most common form of AMD is dry AMD. This is caused by the appearance of small yellow deposits called drusen, which form under the retina. These are accumulated waste products of the retina, which can grow in size and stop the flow of nutrients to the retina. This will cause the retinal cells in the macula that process light to die, causing vision to become blurred. This form of the disease usually worsens slowly.
Wet AMD generally causes more rapid and more serious vision loss. In this form of the disease, tiny new blood vessels grow under and into the retina. These blood vessels are fragile and often break and leak, causing a loss of vision.
What can be done to prevent or treat AMD?
Currently, the only treatment for dry AMD, which in many people show no symptoms or loss of vision, is dietary vitamin and other supplements. A study has found that a certain combination of vitamins (vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc), known as AREDS (Age Related Eye Disease Study) vitamins, can slow the progression of dry AMD in people with a moderate level of disease. However, these vitamins do not cure AMD. Only an eye doctor can tell if these will be of benefit.
We have some AREDS supplements in our office! If interested try out our trusted supplement for AMD today.
The treatment of wet AMD has changed rapidly over the past few years, and new research and treatments continue to be developed and tested. These mainly work by stopping the growth of new blood vessels and decreasing the leakage of these abnormal blood vessels.
Signs or Symptoms of AMD?
There may be no symptoms until the disease progresses or affects both eyes. Vision changes due to AMD are:
- Difficulty seeing in the center of your vision, which is needed for reading, sewing, cooking, looking at faces, and driving
- Trouble seeing in dim light
- Straight lines start to appear wavy, blurry or missing
- Fading and/or changes in the appearance of colors
If you experience any of these symptoms, see one of our eye doctors as soon as possible to prevent the furthering of conditions that could end up way worse.
Who is this important to?
AMD is important to anyone around the age of 50 or older. Even if you aren’t in your 50’s or so, you might want to be aware of your family’s medical history. AMD can run in families, and may not be caught in time if you don’t have regular comprehensive eye exams at our office.
Also, if you are in a very sunny area, have light colored eyes, or other health conditions, you will want to see us for your eye exam. It is important to have a regular exam with us not only for AMD, but many other health conditions such as diabetes or glaucoma.
Read our article about the importance of comprehensive eye exams here: Exam Importance
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Another article that may be of interest to you about Dry Eye and why it is important to everyone here: Dry Eye Syndrome
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This February and always, Seitz Eye Care wants you to be healthy and seeing well. See the Seitz Eye Care Difference today by making your appointment with us! Call us at (435) 789 – 1552 or click this link: Eye Exam Contact Us