What Everyone Over 50 Should Know about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration treatments

Age-related macular degeneration, also called macular degeneration or AMD, can rob you of your vision, and it is the leading cause of blindness among people 50 and older. Unfortunately, there is no cure for AMD.

But the good news is that you can reduce your risk for developing this devastating disease or prevent it from worsening if you do develop it. Here’s what we at Ventura Eye Institute think you should know about AMD.

What is age-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration is a common eye condition in older adults. It occurs when the macula, which is a small central area in the retina, starts to deteriorate. The macula helps you focus and enables you to read, drive, recognize faces and colors, and see fine detail.

There are two types of macular degeneration: wet and dry. The vast majority of people with age-related macular degeneration have the dry type, which happens gradually. The wet kind comes on more suddenly and progresses much more quickly.

Symptoms of age-related macular degeneration

Since most cases of age-related macular degeneration develop slowly, it can be difficult to detect signs or symptoms. And there are few symptoms in the early stages. Signs to look out for include:

How can I reduce my risk of developing AMD?

While there is no cure for AMD and vision that has been lost can’t be restored, there are ways to prevent and manage AMD. One of the best ways you can improve your eye health is to schedule regular eye exams, which can catch AMD before symptoms appear. Other ways to reduce your risk for developing AMD include:

Maintain a healthy weight

Overweight and inactive people have a higher risk of developing AMD than the general population. And overweight or obese people who do develop AMD are at an increased risk of developing advanced AMD.

Quit smoking

Smoking can double your risk of developing AMD and also increases your risk for other eye diseases. Smoking can also increase the rate of vision deterioration.

Get your blood pressure under control

Studies show that high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is linked to an elevated risk of developing AMD.

Eat a healthy diet

Consuming foods high in unhealthy fats, namely highly processed packaged goods, raises your risk of developing AMD. Green leafy vegetables and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and other fish, nuts, and seeds can reduce your risk.  

Age-related macular degeneration treatments

Current treatments can only slow down the progression of AMD and help you improve your vision. Depending on the stage of the disease, the treatment options include:

Medications

Certain medications can help slow the progression of both wet and dry AMD.

Nutritional supplements

Studies have shown that a combination of certain supplements, such as zinc oxide and vitamins C and E, as well as others, may reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD.

Photocoagulation

This laser procedure treats wet macular degeneration by sealing leaky blood vessels.

For more information about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of age-related macular degeneration, call Ventura Eye Institute in Camarillo, California, or make an appointment online through this website.

 

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