Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Our sense of vision is as miraculous as it is fragile. Have you ever paused to wonder how you are able to perceive fantastic arrays of color? We sense color thanks to millions of “cones” in our eyes. These cones are divided into red, green and blue cones which contribute to an eye’s color sensitivity. Just as we notice changes in color, so too do we notice when our vision begins to falter.
Luckily, drastic changes in vision are often noticed quickly and may be treated before they become dangerous to your eye health. As you get older you may be faced with age-related vision problems. The leading cause of loss of vision in adults 50 years and older is Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD.
AMD affects the retina portion of the eye. The retina acts like film in a camera, processing light to help create an image. Within the center of the retina lies the ‘macula.’ The macula controls the clarity of one’s central field of vision. AMD results in considerable loss of clarity in fine details, both at close and far range. However, peripheral (or ‘side’ vision) remains normal.
AMD occurs in two forms: dry and wet. Dry AMD accounts for 90% of all AMD cases. Dry AMD causes slow loss of central vision over time as the macula gets thinner with age. There is no treatment for dry AMD, though use of doctor-recommended vitamin and mineral supplements may help at-risk patients maintain their vision.
Wet AMD results in rapid loss of vision caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels under the retina. Wet AMD may be treated with medication and/or laser surgery.
Ancan administer tests to determine if you have developed or are at risk of developing AMD. At-risk patients may include adults 50 years and older, individuals who smoke cigarettes or persons with a family history of AMD. Caucasians are at an increased risk for AMD.
If you are concerned about your eye health, schedule regular appointments with your ophthalmologist. Routine visits to a doctor are a crucial step in the fight against all forms of vision loss.