Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is an eye disease that affects your central vision. Aging can damage your macula, part of the retina which gives you sharp central vision. This condition is quite common and is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people over age 60 in the United States. Let’s find out more about age-related macular degeneration.
Types Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
There are two main types of age-related macular degeneration: wet and dry.
Dry AMD is the most common form. The macula gets thinner with age and yellow deposits, called drusen, develop in the macula. As these deposits become bigger or more numerous, your vision can become distorted or dimmed.
You can develop blind spots in your central vision, and if it gets progressively worse, you can lose your central vision.
Wet AMD causes blood vessels to grow underneath your macula. They leak blood and fluid into the retina, resulting in distorted vision. Straight lines appear wavy, blind spots can also occur, and eventually the bleeding causes a scar leading to permanent loss of central vision.
Symptoms Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Unfortunately, there are few, if any, early symptoms of AMD. For that reason it is essential that you see Hecht Eye Institute for a thorough exam at least once a year.
AMD is a progressive disease, meaning it continues to get worse over time.
The dry type occurs in 3 stages: early, intermediate, and late.
- The early stage of dry AMD has no symptoms.
- In the intermediate stage you might have symptoms, but not everyone experiences them. Others will have mild blurriness in their central vision and difficulty seeing in low light
- With late AMD of either type, straight lines look wavy and you could have blurred areas in your central vision. Later they can become blank spots. This can happen in one or both eyes.
The most important symptom is straight lines looking wavy. It indicates late AMD, and you should contact Hecht Eye Institute immediately.
Are You At Risk For Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
The “usual suspects” put you at risk again.
If you smoke, have high blood pressure with a high cholesterol rate, are obese, and consume too much saturated fat, you are more at risk to develop AMD. Lastly, if you are a light-skinned woman with light colored eyes, you are more at risk than others. There is also a genetic link.
Make some lifestyle changes to reduce your risk!
Some studies show supplements of Vitamin C, E, Lutean, zeaxanthin, zinc, and copper help reduce your risk.
There is no cure for AMD, but there are treatments available to limit its progression.