What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. There are often no noticeable symptoms in the early stages of AMD, but if left untreated, it may gradually result in blurred or loss central vision; in one or both eyes. While it does not cause complete blindness, loss of central vision can make it hard to recognize faces, drive, read, or perform other daily activities. Our team of doctors can help with the evaluation and treatments for macular degeneration. Macular degeneration comes in two types – wet and dry.
What Are the Causes of AMD?
Although the exact cause of AMD is unknown, several studies show the following individuals may be at risk:
- Caucasians over the age of 50
- People with hypertension
- Anyone with light-colored eyes
- Anyone with a family history of AMD
- Lifestyle factors including smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity
The progression of AMD can be slow or rapid, but the deterioration of central vision generally occurs over a period of a few years. If you experience the following, see you eye doctor right away
- Straight lines appear wavy
- Difficulty seeing at a distance
- Decreased ability to distinguish colors
- Inability to see details , such as faces or words in a book
- Dark or empty spots block your central vision
How to Protect Your Vision:
- Have regular eye examinations that include dilating your eyes:
- Every year if you have not been diagnosed with AMD.
- Those with AMD should have a medical eye exam at least every 6 months
- Check your vision at home. Everyone should periodically cover each eye to evaluate any changes in vision. You can also use an “Amsler grid” to carefully evaluate the health of your macula and monitor any distortion or dark or blurred spots that appear in either eye.If these appear, bleeding may be occurring and you should contact your Eye Care Oklahoma specialist immediately.
- Vitamins are extremely helpful in slowing the progression of macular degeneration. Everyone should inform their primary care doctor of the vitamins they are taking to ensure they do not conflict with other medications and health conditions.
- ICAPS and Ocuvite are brand name vitamins specifically made for the eyes. Some formula have lutein, some have high amounts of Vitamin A.(Note: Our office recommends the “AREDs” formula or “Preservation” which is made of high doses of Vitamin A along with Vitamin C, E, and Zinc. Take 2-4 times per day.)
- It is always good to take a separate lutein supplement or eat plenty of leafy green vegetables.
- Ultra-violet (UV) light has always been associated with progression of age related eye diseases. It is critical to protect your eyes from the sun. This doesn’t necessarily mean your lenses need to be tinted. Even clear glasses can have 1005 UV protection if made for that purpose. Our office provides samples of large sunglasses in our optical shop including side shields, which work very well to protect your eyes.
- Smoking has been shown to cause progression of AMD. If you have been told that you have AMD, it is critical to quit smoking.