February is AMD Awareness Month
What is Macular Degeneration?
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. At present, AMD is considered an incurable eye disease. Macular Degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain.
In simpler terms, AMD causes you to start to have wavy or blurred vision. Over time it will progress and can cause complete loss in spots of your vision. Those with very advanced macular degeneration are considered legally blind! Although their peripheral vision still works, the center of their vision is dark.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
Like many things in life, the specific factors that cause macular degeneration are not conclusively known. What we do know of age-related macular degeneration is that the causes are complex and have both hereditary and environmental components.
Some of the large risk factors are:
Being 55 years and older
Race (Caucasians are more likely to develop this disease than any other race)
Are There Treatments?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Macular Degeneration. Certain treatments may be helpful at slowing the progression of the disease, but the best thing you can do is reduce your risk before the disease develops.
Changes you can make are mostly lifestyle related, but are effective! Things like:
Diet (eat those dark, leafy green veggies!)
Eye Protection (sunglasses!)
Never miss an annual eye exam (we have state-of-the-art equipment at the office so we don’t miss anything when looking at your eye health!)
So, now you know if you feel like your vision is wavy or blurred it could mean something more serious than a new prescription. Don’t ignore these signs; call or go online and book your appointment with your eye doctor to be sure!