Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that causes the deterioration of the macula. The macula is the central portion of the retina and provides sharp, central vision. AMD is the most common cause of visual impairment and blindness in people over the age of 70.
Age-related macular degeneration can happen to anyone who is old enough, but there are certain risk factors that make you more likely to develop it. These risk factors include smoking, hypertension, and general poor health.
If you are in the early stages of AMD, you will probably not experience any symptoms. The earliest sign of AMD is a gradual or sudden change in the quality of your vision. You may also notice that your vision is distorted, for example, a straight line may appear crooked to you. As the condition progresses, you will experience central vision loss. Other symptoms include dark, blurry vision or whiteout areas in central vision, and a change in color perception.
If you notice a change in your vision, you should always contact an ophthalmologist. AMD is not always apparent, especially in the early stages. Regular eye examinations will ensure that your ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat AMD early. To diagnose AMD, your ophthalmologist will perform a comprehensive eye exam that may include the screening methods like autofluorescence, dilated eye exams, fundoscopy, ophthalmoscopy, and visual acuity tests.
There are two main types of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common type and there are no treatments. Dry AMD can be managed, however. Lifestyle changes such as increasing the consumption of leafy greens and engaging in exercise can help reduce the rate of progression. There is some evidence that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can help you keep your vision for longer.
If AMD progresses to the wet type, treatment will be necessary to reduce vision loss. Treatments include injected medication, laser therapy, and surgery.
Are you due for an eye examination? Remember that early diagnosis and management of AMD is important. Contact Aloha Vision Consultants to schedule an appointment.