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Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 affecting more than 13 million people.
Over the next 25 years, these numbers are expected to triple, however most people are unaware of AMD or the steps they can take to reduce the risk. Here are some important points about AMD:
AMD affects the retina, the part of the eye responsible for sharp, clear vision. AMD causes a blurring or blank spot in the center of visual images, which may make it difficult to drive, read or even recognize faces.
AMD occurs gradually and worsens over time. During the initial stages known as “Dry” AMD, the effects are milder and can result in loss of color definition and detail. If the disease progresses to the more severe form, “Wet” AMD, central portions of vision are lost and, ultimately, legal blindness can occur. One never goes completely blind from AMD however while treatment options are limited, there are measures that can be taken to significantly slow the progression of AMD.
High risk factors for developing AMD include:
- Being Female
- Poor Physical Health: Obesity, Inactivity, High Blood Pressure
- Light-Colored Skin and Eyes
- Family History of AMD
Since the damage that causes AMD is cumulative and the retina becomes less able to recover from light-induced stress as we age, the risk of developing AMD increases as we age.
Help protect your sight with this protection plan:
- Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke
- Maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish
- Take vitamin supplements recommended by your ophthalmologist
- Maintain a healthy weight and control blood pressure
- Increase intake of foods or supplements containing antioxidants
- Exercise regularly as part of maintaining cardiovascular health