Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is the leading cause of vision loss among people 50 and older. In this blog, we will discuss what AMD is, the different types, its signs, and treatment options.
What is age-related macular degeneration?
AMD is a degenerative eye disease that causes blurred or reduced central vision due to damage to the macula—the part of the retina responsible for giving us sharp, detailed central vision. While AMD does not cause complete blindness, it can cause severe loss of central vision and make everyday activities difficult or impossible.
Types of AMD
There are two main types of AMD: wet and dry. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid or blood into the macula. This type progresses quickly and can lead to severe vision loss if left untreated.
Dry AMD occurs when cells in the macula break down over time due to aging or exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. While this type progresses more slowly than wet AMD, it can still lead to significant vision loss if not treated properly. Any stage of dry AMD can develop into the wet form, but wet AMD is always late stage.
Signs of AMD
The most common sign of AMD is blurred or distorted central vision. When this occurs, straight lines may appear wavy, or objects may appear smaller than they are. Other signs include:
- Difficulty recognizing faces
- Colors appearing faded or washed out
- Blind spots in your central field of view
- The frequent need for brighter lighting when reading or watching television
- Difficulty adapting when going from bright to low-light environments
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible for a comprehensive eye exam. At Spring House Eye Associates, our team of eye care professionals can assess your eye health and check for AMD and early warning signs of other diseases. We will then recommend a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Give us a call today if you have any concerns.
If you have been diagnosed with wet AMD, there are several treatments available, including laser surgery, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and anti-VEGF injections. There are currently no treatments available for dry AMD. However, taking nutritional supplements like lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids may help slow down the progression of the disease. Before taking any supplements, be sure to check with your doctor to make sure there are no potential risks or negative interactions with any of your current medications.
Additionally, there are lifestyle changes that can help prevent or slow the development of the condition, such as wearing sunglasses with UV protection and quitting smoking if applicable.
Early detection and treatment are critical to preventing vision loss from AMD. If you’re noticing vision changes or are overdue for an eye exam, schedule an appointment with our practice today!