What You Need to Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration
As we age, health problems often crop up. One such condition is age-related macular degeneration. The leading cause of vision loss in those over the age of 50, AMD gradually progresses. Here’s what you need to know about this common eye condition.
AMD affects the central vision by damaging the retina’s center. While complete blindness isn’t caused by AMD, it can make seeing things clearly difficult from those suffering from the eye condition. Early symptoms including distorted, blurry or dark images including faces and objects. Uneven or bent straight lines can also be an indicator of AMD. Whited out areas in the center of the vision is another common indicator. Not all races are affected equally with Caucasians more likely to develop the disease. Family history and smoking can increase your risk of developing the condition. An ophthalmologist like Kang Zhang can diagnose and treat the eye condition.
The slow progression of the disease may make it difficult to notice for some patients. Since the peripheral vision remains sharp and clear, it may take time to notice the central vision lacks in clarity and sharpness. There are two forms of AMD: wet and dry. Wet AMD is a more serious but less common form. The macula may be scarred due to additional blood vessels growing beneath the retina and leaking fluids into the eye. Dry AMD patients tend to lose vision more slowly than those with wet AMD. Most patients who have AMD have the dry version where the macula grows tiny clumps of protein and thins with age.
A healthy lifestyle is one way to help prevent the eyes from developing AMD. Don’t smoke, exercise regularly, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, steady blood pressure levels and a healthy diet can help safeguard the eyes. An annual exam can help detect the presence of AMD or spot early signs. Having a baseline eye exam by the age of 40 can help your medical professional monitor the condition of the eyes and notice any changes or abnormalities.