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Our vision changes with age, health and other lifestyle factors. That means issues we didn’t necessarily have when we were younger may appear as we advance in age. Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a common age-related condition. In simple terms, it can manifest when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged.
When the anatomy is affected, you’re at risk of losing your central vision. This means you cannot see fine detail; however, you may still have peripheral vision. That’s why many older people give up driving, as their range of vision is compromised.
While it might sound scary, AMD is quite common, especially in people age 50 or older. As is the case with many medical conditions, there are different levels of acuteness. For example, the most common type is dry AMD. This occurs when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein grow on it. It’s a slow process but the end result is loss of central vision. There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.
While less common but more serious, wet AMD can result when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids. This condition is associated with scarring of the macula. You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.
You may wondering if you’re at risk for developing either type. Diet, lifestyle and family history enter the equation here. You are more likely to develop AMD if you:
– eat a diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
– are overweight
– smoke cigarettes
– are over 50 years old
– have a family history of AMD
– are Causasian (white)
– have heart disease
– high cholesterol levels
It’s important to consider that many people don’t realize they have AMD until they develop symptoms, like blurred vision. This is why it is important to schedule annual appointments with your Midwest Eye Consultants doctor. He or she can track and monitor any eye or vision-related deterioration and help you come up with a plan to protect your vision.
If you ever have any questions about eye health and preventative measures, know that your Midwest Eye Consultants doctor is there to help. Schedule an appointment today if you have any pressing concerns.