Understanding AMD; Age-related Macular Degeneration

Macular degenerationAge-related macular degeneration is the number one cause of severe vision loss in adults over the age of 60. It is the fastest growing form of the disease and nearly 25% of our aging population has macular degeneration to some degree.

The macula is a tiny circle found in the center of your retina. It is a light-sensitive membrane that lines the inside of the back of your eye. The retina instantly turns light into electrical pulses and then sends these electrical signals through the optic nerve and into your brain. The brain will then translate these electrical signals into the images we see. If the macula is damaged, fine details in these images will not be clearly visible.

The picture is there but the fine points are lost.

Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive eye condition that cause legal blindness in millions of people all over the world. It attacks the macula of the eye, where our sharpest central vision occurs.

Although macular degeneration does not usually result in total blindness, it does create black holes or faded images in the center of your vision. It deprives the individual of everything except their outermost peripheral vision. This will make it almost impossible to drive a car, read a book, watch television, safely navigate stairs, and anything else that involves a clear field of vision.

Types of AMD

There are two types of AMD; wet (neovascular) and dry (atrophic). There is no cure for AMD, but new treatments are now available for the wet form of the disease. Your family physician should be able to recommend a specialist. Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment available for the dry form, but there are special devices and therapy that can make it easier to live with the disease.

Cause of AMD

The exact cause of AMD is currently unknown, but there are some simple changes you can make that will decrease your risk of developing it. One easy way is to protect your eyes from sun damage by wearing sunglasses that have UV ray protection. It is also best to quit smoking, since smoking significantly increases your risk of developing AMD.

Studies have also shown that a diet rich in vitamin A, C, E, and zinc can actually reduce the progression of the condition. Eating more of these essential nutrients or taking a high quality multi-vitamin will improve all aspects of your health.  Unfortunately your age is also a factor and there is no way to prevent you from getting older.

Age-related macular degeneration will significantly diminish your quality of life and make ordinary activities more challenging. It can be extremely devastating to active people who value their independence. Wear sunglasses, quit smoking, take vitamin supplements, and visit your eye doctor regularly. You only get one pair of eyes and it is essential that you care for them.

Take care of your eyes Now!


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