Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

To raise awareness of a leading cause of vision loss among people 50 and older, here is some information about age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Since February is AMD awareness month, we’d like to provide some useful material so you can understand the basics of the condition, know what to look for, and be attentive to your vision health.

What is AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease that mostly affects those who are 50 or older. It causes vision loss in the center of your field of vision. There are two types­ of AMD – dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. With dry, the center of the retina deteriorates. With wet, leaky blood vessels grow under the retina. Dry AMD is the most common.

What are the symptoms?

In some cases, you could not have symptoms of AMD, even though the disease is progressing. That’s why visiting your eye doctor and getting annual comprehensive eye exams is so important.

Symptoms include blind spots; a difference in the appearance of color; distorted vision where straight lines appear wavy or bent; blurred or decreased vision when looking straight ahead, either at a distance or close up; and objects appearing different in color, shape or size in one eye compared to the other. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, or having trouble with daily tasks like reading, cooking, driving, seeing in dim light or looking at faces, contact your eye doctor as soon as you can and make an appointment.

Are you at risk?

There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing AMD. It’s best to discuss these factors with your doctor. Here are some of the risk factors:

  • Family history of AMD
  • Over the age of 50
  • Smoking
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Overweight

To learn more about these and other risk factors, and to learn more about AMD, talk with your doctor and consider these additional resources, Prevent Blindness and American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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