February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month
What is Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
AMD is the leading cause of central vision loss in American adults aged 50 and over. AMD is a disorder of the macula, the part of your retina where your central and color vision calls home. AMD is a complex disorder where degenerative protein/lipids (known as “drusen”) deposit under the retina. These deposits are seen in early macular degeneration. The retina’s structural support system breaks down as the disease progresses, allowing abnormal blood vessels to grow or leak fluid and further disrupt the retinal cells. In honor of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month this February, our eye care experts wanted to present some facts about AMD and how it can be treated.
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to be aware of:
Dry (or Nonexudative) — Nearly 80% of people who experience AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD is characterized by the degeneration of the retina due to either atrophy or detachment.
Wet (or Exudative) — While less common, this form is far more severe. Wet AMD occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina.
What are the risk factors for AMD?
- Age – AMD affects more than 2 million Americans over 50 years old, but the prevalence increases with age. The rate of AMD is around 6% at age 65 and almost 20% at 75.
- Genetics – Specifically a family history of AMD.
- Smoking – Nicotine use can increase the risk of AMD progressing.
- Diet – Eating foods high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese) can increase a person’s risk of developing AMD.
- Have Certain Diseases – This includes hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and cardiovascular disease.
- Being Overweight – This can increase risk and make AMD symptoms more severe.
Can AMD be treated?
Depending on the type and severity of each specific case of macular degeneration, many proven and effective treatment options are available that can prevent further vision loss and help people regain their vision (sometimes even back to 20/20).
Being proactive and keeping up with regular eye exams, maintaining healthy habits, and having good safety practices can all be incredibly helpful in the fight against AMD. Your eyes will certainly be grateful for it in the long run. If you have noticed changes in your vision and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay, contact Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons today. You can also follow us on Facebook for more eye care tips, practice news, and much more.