February Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month
Welcome to the second month of the year! This month, we would like to draw your attention to a lesser-known problem called macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration or AMD could be affecting your vision without you knowing it. This is a common problem, affecting as many as 11 million people in the U.S. alone.
AMD is rapidly becoming even more prevalent. Cases of macular degeneration are projected to increase to an estimated 22 million by 2050. Keep reading to learn more about AMD and how it affects your vision!
What is Macular Degeneration?
The macula of the eye is the center of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue located on the rear interior wall inside of the eye.
It houses the most light-sensitive cells on the tissue. The retina also handles our central vision and ability to see details.
Macular deterioration occurs when this tissue begins to deteriorate. This can create many different problems, ranging from mild to severe.
Most cases of macular degeneration are age-related. This is why the disease is often referred to as AMD.
Often, the problem begins because the retina is thinning out due to age. Yet specific reasons about what causes AMD are still largely unknown.
It has something to do with genetics, but the environment and lifestyle can play a significant role.
What Are The Two Categories Of AMD?
There are two categories of AMD: Wet AMD and dry AMD. These refer to whether new blood vessels are growing on the retina.
The dry form of AMD is more common than wet AMD and is also less severe. Almost 90% of AMD cases are dry AMD. If left untreated, dry AMD will turn into wet AMD.
When a case of dry AMD becomes wet, significant vision loss will begin to occur. When this happens, blood vessels begin to grow in the retinal tissue.
The reason it’s called “wet” AMD is that the new blood vessels that proliferate are weak. These weak blood vessels begin to bleed and seep into the retinal tissue. This causes serious damage and even scarring.
Who is at Risk?
Macular degeneration causes vision loss in more Americans than any other vision problem. It is only getting worse over time.
Approximately 10 million Americans who are older than 40 show signs of early AMD. That number will likely double by 2050.
The elderly are the most at risk. White people over the age of 80, are affected by some form of the disease. Smoking, poor diet, and a lack of exercise can contribute to developing AMD.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
Currently, there is no way to cure either form of macular degeneration. The disease will continue to progress indefinitely.
You may be able to slow its progress by making some changes to your lifestyle. Macular degeneration is difficult to diagnose as well. This is why it’s so important to always see your eye doctor for eye exams.
Know that it’s been too long since your last eye exam? Schedule one at Kovach Eye Institute in Naperville, IL now! It’s never too late to make your eye care a priority in your life!