February is AMD & Low Vision Awareness Month! Precision Vision wants to bring awareness to Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), its symptoms, and the treatments that can help prevent vision loss from progressing. Age-related Macular Degeneration the leading cause of vision loss in the country for those over the age of 60, affecting over 2 million people in the United States.
AMD is the breakdown of the macula, which is a small spot in the retina that is responsible for our central vision and allows us to have sharp and clear vision. The primary cause of AMD is age. However, the condition can occur at any age, and certain factors can increase the chance of developing AMD. These risk factors include smoking which doubles your risk, genetics, and race in which Caucasians are more susceptible.
The symptoms of AMD are usually gradual, painless, and can vary from person to person. Most of the time, people will not realize they have AMD until vision loss has already begun. This is why it is critical to see your ophthalmologist regularly in order to catch early warning signs of the disease. The visual symptoms of AMD include blurry central vision, distortion of straight lines or objects, difficulty reading, difficulty recognizing faces, and decreased brightness of colors.
Although there is no “cure” to reverse the vision damage caused by AMD, there are a few therapies and treatments that can help stabilize or reduce the rate of vision loss. Antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplementation, and consuming dark leafy greens and colorful fruits and vegetables are beneficial steps than can be taken in your everyday lifestyle. Also, keeping an Amsler-Grid at home will help alert you if your vision might indicate a potential problem. For severe vision loss, there is treatment option available called an Anti-VEGF injection. This injection is designed to block a molecule called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) which can help those with the wet form of AMD. Another treatment option is called Photodynamic Therapy that utilizes a cold laser to treat areas of the retina, as well as traditional laser therapy that utilizes a hot laser.
Early detection is the key to slowing vision loss associated with AMD. It is important to constantly monitor the symptoms and make sure to see an ophthalmologist regularly. To learn more about AMD treatments, call Precision Vision at any of our Central Oklahoma area locations or click here.