A “scientific” term with serious consequences; age-related macular degeneration (AMD) isn’t a disease to take lightly. You’re probably wondering what macular degeneration is and why you even need to worry about it. To put it simply, AMD is when a small area at the back of your eye becomes damaged and results in blurring of your central vision.
While there are different types, the disease most commonly affects people in their 50s and 60s, which is why we often refer to it as “age-related macular degeneration.” This eye disease is the leading cause of permanent vision loss worldwide and affects an estimated one million Canadians alone*. That’s a big number, and sadly if you already have it, there’s currently no cure. Do yourself and your eyes a favour and make sure you’re attending routine eye health examinations.
Here are some other points to know about AMD.
Forms of Macular Degeneration
AMD comes in two forms: dry and wet macular degeneration.
Nine out of ten people who have AMD are diagnosed with the dry form**. Dry age-related macular degeneration is what causes the thinning of the macula (the yellow-pigmented area on the central retina) and takes years to develop.
Wet is considered to be the most severe form of AMD and comes on far more quickly. Basically, abnormal blood vessels might start to grow in a layer just below the retina and start leaking fluid and blood, leading to a blind spot smack dab in the centre of your vision.
Signs of AMD
No one wants to experience irreversible legal blindness, but by attending regular check-ups with an optometrist, early detection of the eye disease is possible. However, if you’re noticing spotty vision, blank spots in your eyesight, colour changes, or you’re having difficulty reading, you should definitely make an accelerated appointment with your eye doctor.
Who’s At Risk?
There are both controllable and uncontrollable risk factors when it comes to molecular degeneration. As mentioned before, AMD is most common among our older population. However, if your family has a history of the eye disease, or if you’re Caucasian, you could also be at a higher risk.***
Whether you’re approaching senior status or not, there are ways you can work on AMD prevention by simply making a few lifestyle changes. Eating foods that protect the eyes like squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes (to name a few), refraining from too much caffeine and alcohol consumption, and staying smoke-free are great ways of decreasing your chances of developing macular degeneration.
If you’ve already gone through partial vision loss, a low vision assessment could help in coming up with solutions. From simple colour filters to video magnifiers, our goal is to help you enjoy your eyesight as much as possible.
If you’re worried about your vision or you’re just overdue for your check-up with an eye doctor, don’t wait. Book an appointment with our Kelowna optometrist today.