February is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month. AMD is a serious eye condition that causes deterioration of the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision. It is the leading cause of vision loss for people 50 and older and can severely impact an individual’s quality of life. In this blog post, we will discuss what AMD is, its symptoms and risk factors, the different types, and treatment options.
Symptoms & risk factors
The most common symptom of AMD is blurred or reduced central vision or distortion of objects when looking directly at them. Other possible signs include dark spots in your field of vision or difficulty seeing at night. Losing central vision makes it difficult to do things like read or recognize faces, as well as make out details like color or contrast.
Risk factors for developing AMD include age (50+), family history, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity, and excessive exposure to sunlight without proper UV protection. Women are also more likely to develop AMD than men because they live longer, and the disease usually develops over time.
Types & treatments
There are two main types of AMD: wet and dry.
Dry AMD is more common than wet AMD but also less severe. It progresses slowly over time and usually does not lead to complete vision loss. For dry AMD patients, no treatments are currently available, but taking supplements can help slow down disease progression.
Unlike the dry form, wet AMD develops rapidly and often leads to significant vision impairment if not addressed quickly. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels form underneath the macula and leak fluid that damages surrounding tissue. Treatment for wet AMD can involve medications such as anti-VEGF eye injections to reduce swelling and prevent leakage from abnormal blood vessels. Laser surgery may also be used to seal these vessels off from leaking more fluid into the eye.
At Newport Eye Care, we offer comprehensive eye exams to catch early warning signs of AMD before it causes permanent damage. If you are 50 or older or experience any changes in your vision, schedule an eye exam at our office today. We can help you protect your eyesight and reduce the severity of symptoms!