Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease in people age 50 and older, and the leading cause of visual disability in people over 65. AMD can cause gradual central vision loss, blurry or distorted vision or blank spots. A small percent of people with AMD may lose central vision to the point that they can no longer read or drive a car, but the condition very rarely causes complete blindness.
The good news is that AMD is not inevitable, and there are things you can do to help improve your prognosis if you are diagnosed with the condition, such as:
- Stop smoking. Smokers are twice as likely to get AMD than non-smokers, and they are also more likely to have more advanced AMD which could cause more significant vision loss.
- Eat healthy. A diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables may help slow the progression of AMD.
- Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure could increase the pressure within your eyes which also may worsen AMD. Talk to your primary care physician to discuss ways to get your blood pressure under control.
- Add omega-3s to your diet. Studies have shown that people who eat a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids (contained in some fatty fish, nuts and seeds) could lower the risk of AMD progression.
- Monitor your vision for changes. Regularly see your retina specialist to ensure you immediately address any concerns. Test your vision, one eye at a time, with an Amsler grid to detect any changes.
The most common type of AMD, known as dry AMD, makes up about 90% of AMD cases and is less severe than wet AMD.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that a specific formulation of antioxidant vitamins and minerals can modestly lower the risk of progression of dry AMD to more advanced stages of AMD associated with vision loss. The AREDS 2 supplement, which is comprised of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Copper, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, is available as an over-the-counter formulation. Talk to your medical doctor to see if an AREDS 2 supplement is right for you.
The more severe type of AMD – wet AMD – can also be treated with medications, known as anti-VEGF agents, which are designed to block the growth of new blood vessels in the retina that can leak and worsen the condition. If you have wet AMD, talk to your retinal specialist about treatment options.
The greatest risk factors for developing AMD are your genetics and smoking. If anyone in your direct family has had AMD, or if you are a smoker, be sure to have regular, yearly eye exams that include dilating the pupils, so the condition can be detected as early as possible. Early detection could potentially improve your prognosis and possibly help retain your vision.
Come See Us
Tyson Eye is regarded as one of the premier eye care centers in Southwest Florida. Our surgeons and doctors have helped thousands of people with their vision and have consistently introduced break-through technology to the area, and we can help you protect your eyes from AMD. Tyson Eye is committed to excellence by delivering modern technology with old fashioned concern.
If you are having vision problems or are concerned about AMD, we can help. Schedule an appointment with us today or call 239-542-2020.