February is Macular Degeneration awareness month
Age-Related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over the age of 50.
Over 1.8 million Americans have AMD.
Over 7.3 million Americans are at risk to develop AMD and sustain vision loss.
With such staggering statistics, AMD is certainly worthy of its own month to raise awareness.
What is AMD?
Age-Related Macular Degeneration affects the macula inside your eye. The macula is a structure in the back lining of your eye that is responsible for your central vision. It is the most sensitive and precise “seeing part” of your retina.
AMD occurs when the macula develops bumpy disruptions. It is normal for chemical reactions (and resultant waste products) to occur in the retina because this is how your retina changes the light signal into a signal that your brain can interpret. However, sometimes these waste products are not cleared out of the retina properly and leaves behind the bumpy disruptions.
There are two types of AMD.
- The dry form is the most common form. It is when these disruptions start to cause vision impairment and/or distortions. Unfortunately, there is no current treatment for dry AMD. The only avenue that research has uncovered is certain nutrients that can help slow the progression, which include lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins C and E. This was shown through the Age Related Eye Disease Study, or know as AREDS.
- The wet form is less common but can be most visually devastating. AMD becomes “wet” when blood or fluid leaks into the macula. There is no way to cure the wet form but it can be managed with intra-vitreal injections of anti-VEGF medications such as Eyelea or Lucentis.
Early detection is key!
Since there currently is not a way to prevent or cure AMD, it is important to catch changes early so that we can monitor changes closely. The closer we can watch someone who is at risk, the sooner we can start the few treatments we do have.
Vision Source Mandan can help!
Our optometrists manage AMD on a daily basis. We have the technology and experience to confidently help our patients deal with this disease.
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The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.