Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the most common cause of vision loss for seniors in the U.S. At Holt Eye Clinic many of our AMD patients are surprised at their diagnosis, as it can develop without creating major symptoms, at first. When one of our ophthalmologists diagnoses someone with macular degeneration, that patient almost always has a lot of questions. Here are some of the more common ones we hear.
What is AMD?
Light comes into your eye and is focused on a small spot in the back of the eye, known as the macula. This controls the way you see what’s in front of you. When the macula begins to break down in older patients, this is known as age-related macular degeneration.
What are the Macular Degeneration Symptoms?
There are two types of AMD: dry and wet macular degeneration. The dry form is the most common one. It can cause blurred vision and gradual vision loss, mainly in the center of the field of vision. You may not be able to see what’s right in front of you, while your peripheral vision may stay completely clear.
About one out of ten patients convert to the wet form of AMD. In this more advanced form, new blood vessels begin to form behind the macula, where they begin to leak blood and fluid. This can cause permanent damage, creating total blind spots in the center of the visual field.
What Causes AMD?
There is no single cause for macular degeneration, but there are a number of risk factors. The first is, of course, getting older. Other factors that can contribute to your chances of developing the disease are:
- Being obese or inactive
- Have a family history of AMD
- Having high blood pressure
- Having lighter eye colors
While some factors are ones you can’t help, quitting smoking is the most crucial for avoiding the development of AMD at any age.
Is There a Macular Degeneration Treatment?
While there is no cure right now, there are some macular degeneration treatment options that may delay the progression of the disease. For the dry form, dietary changes that include plenty of fish with omega-3 fatty acids, along with supplements that contain lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to help. For wet AMD, research is focused on preventing the formation of blood vessels, and a number of medications have been developed.
AMD Treatment in Hot Springs, AR
If you’ve received an AMD diagnosis, give our office a call to consult with our team about your treatment options. We have two general ophthalmologists on staff who can help you with any questions or problems you may have.