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  • Writer's pictureBright Eyes Family Vision

Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Signs and Consequences

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among older Americans. However, research and education around the disease have led to AMD becoming much more treatable and manageable in the last few years. Vision loss and damage can easily be prevented with early detection.

The most common first sign of AMD is drusen, which are yellow spots in the macula, your central vision area. The technology we use during eye examinations allows us to spot drusen. The macula, part of the retina, can be viewed using OCT. It will take images of the different layers of the retina, which we inspect for any drusen or any changes since your last exam.

The macula allows you to view things directly in front of you. This is why AMD mainly affects your central vision. However, for most people, signs of the disease won’t be noticeable until the damage is already significant. This is why it is vital to get in for regular, comprehensive eye exams - in which we will be able to spot signs like drusen very early on. 

The earlier AMD is treated, the more damage we are able to prevent or slow down. As the disease progresses, more central vision will be lost. Some early symptoms to look out for include shadowy areas in your central vision or unusually fuzzy or distorted vision. Additionally, if you start having difficulty recognizing familiar faces, or start seeing straight lines appearing wavy, or have a dark/blank spot in your field of vision - these may all be signs of AMD.

Delaying in getting diagnosed or treated for AMD will lead to severe vision damage and potentially blindness - and this damage cannot be reversed. The goal of treatment is to slow down the disease’s progression, which can help you to retain vision for much longer. 

Treatment for AMD will depend on which form you have: dry or wet. The treatment for the dry form typically consists of vitamin supplements which are very effective at slowing the disease’s progression. For the wet form, injections are the treatment method.

Protect your vision for the future by making comprehensive eye exams a yearly priority!

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