February brings us another reason to take better care of our eyesight. Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month was designed to spread awareness of a common problem. This condition is the leading cause of vision loss among patients over age 60 in the United States. Nearly 11 million people throughout the country are affected. That statistic is projected to grow to almost 22 million over the next 30 years.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, describes a damaged macula, which is part of the retina. There are two different types. The first is dry AMD. This is the most common type, making up around 80% of all cases. Dry AMD happens when the macula thins as a person ages. Drusen, or tiny clumps of protein, start to grow, causing central vision loss. There is currently no treatment available for this condition.
The second type is wet AMD. While it isn’t as common, it is more serious than the dry version. Abnormal blood vessels may begin to grow underneath the retina. If they leak, they can cause macula scarring. Loss of sight happens much faster with wet AMD. Patients often do not realize what’s occurring until their vision is very blurry.
Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Patients who are in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration may notice no signs that anything is wrong. The first symptom reported is usually a change in vision quality or the appearance of straight lines that look distorted. This can eventually become a significant loss of central vision.
Protecting Yourself from Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The best way to protect yourself from age-related macular degeneration is to live a healthy lifestyle and schedule regular ophthalmologist appointments. Keeping your doctor up to date will ensure that changes are discovered as early as possible. Contact Grosinger, Spigelman & Grey Michigan’s Leading Eye Care Physicians today to schedule a comprehensive, dilated exam.
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