As we get older, we face many different threats to our vision. Cataracts, glaucoma, presbyopia, and diabetic retinopathy are a few conditions that are age-related.
The leading cause of vision loss in Americans is macular degeneration. Keep reading to find out if macular degeneration (AMD) is something that you should worry about!
What is AMD?
Age-related macular degeneration is a disease that affects your retina. The retina is a sheet of thin, light-sensitive tissue on the rear interior wall of your eye.
It detects light and sends the information as an electrical signal to your brain. It is a very important part of our ability to see. But it is also extraordinarily delicate.
As we age, the center of the retina can begin to deteriorate. This central part is called the macula.
The macula has the highest concentration of light-sensitive cells. In the early stages of macular degeneration, vision loss is barely noticeable.
As the disease progresses, more symptoms appear. These symptoms include wavy or blurred vision, poor vision in low light, and sensitivity to glare.
These symptoms will continue to worsen until the central vision is totally lost. Some people may even progress to the point that they are legally blind. Though they are legally blind, they will still be able to see with their peripheral vision.
Wet vs. Dry AMD
There are two types of AMD: wet and dry. Dry is by far the more common type of AMD, making up almost 90% of AMD cases.
It is also the less serious version. Dry AMD occurs when yellow deposits form underneath the surface of the macula.
These deposits cause the macula to thin and dry out. The more deposits there are, the thinner and drier the macula becomes. This is what eventually causes vision loss.
Wet AMD makes up the remaining approximate 10% of AMD cases. It occurs when the damage to the macula is so great that new blood vessels begin to form beneath the retina.
These blood vessels are weak and prone to leaking when they form. This can cause the retina to bulge and become malformed. This also affects central vision, causing dark spots to appear.
Left unchecked, dry AMD can progress to wet AMD, which is why it is important to see an eye doctor frequently. Set up an appointment at Kovach Eye Institute in Chicago today!
Age-related macular degeneration is currently considered to be incurable. Age-related macular degeneration is not reversible, but you can slow down its progression.
Improving your health through diet and exercise and quitting smoking can help with AMD. Reducing your exposure to the sun will also help with the health of your eyes.
Age is the biggest factor when determining whether you are at risk for developing AMD. But you should also be aware that smoking doubles your chances of developing the condition. Caucasians are more likely to develop AMD, and family history plays a large role.
Have more questions about AMD? Schedule an appointment at Kovach Eye Institute in Elmhurst, IL, today!