Eye Education Corner

Don't Lose Sight From AMD

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease that is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. AMD happens when the small central portion of your retina, called the macula, slowly wears down over time. The macula is responsible for everyone’s dream vision: sharp, clear, good color, and “20/20”. When the macula wears down and AMD progresses, many people see a blurry area near the center of their vision, making it harder to see faces, drive, or do things up-close such as cooking or reading. People with early AMD may not notice much of a change in their vision, especially if the disease only affects one eye whereas people with late AMD may notice straight lines appear crooked and more of their central vision lost.

The risk for AMD increases with age with the majority of AMD cases occurring among white Americans age 80 and older. The risk is also higher for people who either (a) have a family history of AMD, (b) are Caucasian, (c) are overweight, and/or (d) smoke. The good news? There are steps you can take that can help slow the progression of AMD.

Research shows that you may be able to lower your risk of AMD or at least slow its progression by making healthy lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking (or not starting), getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet that incorporates leafy greens and fish, maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and getting regular eye examinations.

In addition to some lifestyle changes, things like the AdaptDx test can help aid in the diagnosis of early-stage AMD before visual loss occurs by measuring the time it takes for your vision to adjust to the dark. The AdaptDx test is suggested for patients with early or late symptoms of AMD or patients with risk factors. Another preventative of macular degeneration vision loss is using MacuHealth- a supplement formulated to promote a healthy macular pigment by restoring the three dietary nutrients essential for maintaining a healthy macula. MacuHealth can help protect the macula from disease, restore macular pigment, and improve overall visual performance.

Living with vision loss from AMD can be challenging. Even with glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, your vision loss can make it hard to do everyday tasks. There is no outright cure for AMD, but a few lifestyle changes and a visit with your ophthalmologist could mean healthy vision for the golden years.