Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, but new treatments have dramatically changed the course of this disease over the last 10 years, making AMD more manageable than ever before.
Most Americans Unaware of One of the Leading Causes of Blindness Among Seniors
Throughout February, Retina Specialists joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in emphasizing AMD awareness and encouraging those who are most at risk to ensure the health of their eyes by getting an eye exam from an ophthalmologist – a physician who specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions.
How does age-related macular degeneration affect your vision?
Macular degeneration reduces vision in the central part of the retina. It usually does not affect the eye’s side, or peripheral, vision. People with AMD may have difficulty with daily tasks that require fine vision such as reading, dialing a telephone, driving, and recognizing faces.
Two types of AMD
This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow. You slowly lose central vision. There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.
This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.
Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits to an ophthalmologist. He or she can look for early signs of AMD before you have any vision problems.
Test your vision with the Amsler grid
AMD causes your vision to change over time. You may not notice these changes when they happen. But you need to catch vision changes as soon as possible. Treating them early can help slow or stop further loss of sight. You should use an Amsler grid every day to monitor your vision. One is below for you to use.