Have you ever put your glasses or sunglasses on and realized there is a huge smudge right in the middle of your vision? Hopefully your glasses are not actually scratched, and you can clean them off and get back to your clear vision, but for patients dealing with age-related macular degeneration, this is the ongoing reality of how they see the world.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition in which part of the retina, called the macula, becomes damaged. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older. With AMD, you lose your central vision and ability to see fine details. For instance, someone with AMD may not be able to see the face of the person they are having a conversation with.
There are two types of macular degeneration.
- The dry form is the most common and causes a slow decline in vision. There is no treatment for dry AMD, however, some eye-specific vitamins can be helpful in slowing the progression.
- The less common form, wet AMD, occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and can leak. Wet AMD can cause rapid vision loss. The only treatment for this form is anti-VEGF medication that a retina specialist injects into the eye.
Risk factors for AMD include having a family history, being over 50 years old, smoking cigarettes, and heart disease. Routine eye exams with your optometrist or ophthalmologist can help with early diagnosis of AMD.
If you have any questions or concerns about AMD, please call to schedule a consultation at 304-343-3937.