Within people 60 years and older, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of reduced vision, poor vision and vision loss. AMD results when small spots form within the macula in the center of the eye, resulting in reduced vision or blurry/blank spots in your vision. While it doesn’t cause total blindness, this condition can hinder your ability to work, drive or read effectively.
AMD Risk Factors
While age is the primary contributing factor for poor vision caused by AMD, other risk factors for developing vision problems from aging include:
- Family history and genetics.
- Smoking can increase the risk of AMD by 50 percent.
- Ethnicity, as Caucasians have a higher predisposition for age-related macular degeneration.
- High cholesterol and/or high blood pressure.
We can thoroughly assess your risk factors for this degenerative condition during an eye exam consultation. By taking a closer look at your eyes at our state-of-the-art optical clinic, we can often detect early signs that indicate your risks of developing AMD.
Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Unfortunately, there are often no symptoms of macular degeneration until the damage is already done. However, our experienced eye doctors can use specialized diagnostics tools to check for signs of AMD. We will typically dilate the pupils of your eyes to examine the retina and optic nerve. We may make lifestyle change recommendations to help you delay the development and progression of macular degeneration.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
Early signs of AMD will not likely require any type of immediate macular degeneration treatment. However, patients must be watchful for any vision changes. Our ophthalmologists have a few suggestions to delay the disease longer or minimize the damage once it has produced symptoms. These tips include:
- Beginning a routine of nutritional supplements beneficial to eye health to slow disease progression.
- Maintain normal cholesterol levels.
- Keep high blood pressure managed.
- Exercise regularly.
- Include healthy greens, leafy veggies and fish in your diet.
- If you smoke, invest in a cessation program and quit right away.
If you have a family history of macular degeneration or have one or more high risk factors, make annual eye exams a priority to minimize your chances of having poor vision in the future due to age.