For most of us, as we age, our visual health tends to decline. Age-related macular-degeneration (AMD) is an example of visual decline that causes permanent, severe vision loss for individuals over the age of 60. It happens as a result of a wear down of the macula which is a central portion of the retina. There are two types of AMD, dry form AMD where people have yellow deposits known as drusen in the macula which in small quantities may not change your vision but as they increase in size, they could distort your sight. The second type is wet form AMD where blood vessels grow from underneath your macula and they lead blood into your retina causing vision distortion.
Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
In the initial stages of the disease, you may not have any noticeable symptoms, however it could get worse and even affect both eyes. Symptoms include:
- Worsening or less clear vision.
- Blurry and dark areas in your vision’s center.
- Different color perception.
Causes of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Common in adults over the age of 60, AMD has been found to be the leading cause of severe vision loss within for older adults. Linked to genes, there are considerably higher chances of getting it if someone in your family has the disease. Other causes include:
- High Blood Pressure.
- High Cholesterol Levels.
- Over-consumption of Saturated Fats.
- Light Eye Color.
Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration
AMD has no cure, however, there is treatment that slows it down to prevent extreme visual loss. Some treatment options include:
- Laser Therapy- Using high energy laser light to destroy abnormal blood vessels that are growing in the eye.
- Low Vision Aids- Devices with specialized lenses or electronic systems that will create larger images of things that are nearby.
- Anti-angiogenesis drugs- These prevent the creation of blood vessels in the eye that causes wet macular degeneration.
- Photodynamic laser therapy- Uses a light-sensitive drug that is injected into the bloodstream, is absorbed by the growing blood vessels and laser light is pointed on to the eye to trigger the medication that will damage these blood vessels.
To observe the Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month, visit your optician or physician for an eye checkup to prevent severe eye damage.