Learn All About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

By http://www.millenniumparkeyecenter.com/author/
February 15, 2024

Happy February! It's Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month. Did you know that Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness among people over 50? If you said no, you're not alone. According to the Bright Focus Foundation, roughly 11 million Americans have some form of macular degeneration, and that number is expected to double by 2050. To help inform adults of the causes and treatments available for this degenerative eye condition, an entire month is dedicated to spreading awareness. 

What exactly is Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration is a common eye condition that describes the deterioration of the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision. As a result, it affects the ability to complete everyday tasks, from reading to driving.

AMD occurs in two forms: Dry and wet. Dry AMD is identified by the thinning of the macula and the appearance of yellowish deposits under the retina. 

Dry AMD is the most common form; it develops slowly, creating gradual vision loss. Wet AMD, in contrast, happens when blood vessels under the retina grow abnormally, leaking blood and fluid. This leakage can quickly damage the macula, leading to a more significant loss of central vision over a short period.

Symptoms of AMD

If your view appears distorted, such as seeing wavy lines instead of straight, or you have diminished central vision, struggle to adapt to low lighting, colors seem less intense or bright, or you have blurry or blind spots in your field of vision, you may be showing signs of age-related macular degeneration. 

Because early stages of AMD may not have noticeable symptoms, it's critical to schedule regular eye examinations, especially if you're over 50.

Causes of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month

The specific mechanisms that trigger the onset and progression of AMD are unknown. However, experts believe that AMD most likely results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors that can impact AMD include:

  • Age (over 50)
  • Race (most common in Caucasians)
  • Smoking
  • Obesity and cardiovascular health
  • A diet lacking in antioxidants

Treatment Options for Age-related Macular Degeneration

The treatment plan for individual cases of AMD depends on the severity and progression of the macular degeneration. When meeting with your ophthalmologist, they will discuss several options, which may include UV protection, dietary supplementation, and intravitreal injections.

Celebrate Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month by Taking Control of Your Eye Health

Make your eye health a priority this month. Contact the Millennium Park Eye Center in Chicago, IL, today at 312-996-2020 or complete the contact form to schedule a consultation.


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