Learn important details about age related macular degeneration, along with how Merrimack Vision optometrists diagnose and treat the condition.
General Overview Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) accounts for significant cases of vision loss, particularly in adults over the age of 50. The Mayo Clinic explains that the number of people with AMD will likely reach more than five million by 2050, with AMD affecting Caucasians more than other races. Increases in rates of AMD will affect blacks, Hispanics and other races, however.
AMD damages and destroys the macula, a small, sensitive area near the center of the retina that provides the sharp central vision that the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), describes as the vision needed for “Straight ahead” vision activities.
Progression of age-related macular degeneration varies from one individual to another. It appears and advances so slowly in some people that they may not realize the vision loss caused by AMD right away. Other individuals experience rapid progression of symptoms, leading to loss of vision in one eye or both. Deterioration of central vision likely interferes with ability to engage in normal everyday activities such as reading, writing, driving or ability to recognize faces.
How Your Lifestyle Affects Potential For Developing AMD
Lifestyle choices and risk factors affect the likelihood that you may develop age-related macular degeneration.
Individuals who smoke have double the risk of experiencing age-related macular degeneration, compared to those who do not smoke. If a family member has AMD, you have an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. The NEI points out that approximately 20 genes affect risk of developing AMD.
Obesity also contributes to age-related macular degeneration. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, meaning that you get little exercise or other physical activity and eat a poor diet, your risk of AMD increases.
If you have hypertension or cardiovascular disease, these conditions increase your risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Lifestyle plays a significant role in development and progression of AMD. Getting sufficient exercise and eating a healthy diet demonstrate how a positive lifestyle potentially lessens risk of AMD.
The Mayo Clinic points out that studies demonstrate that a nutritious diet lessens your risk of developing AMD and helps slow its progression. Eating foods high in Vitamin C and E, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc potentially lowers your risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 35 percent.
Diagnosis And Treatment
MVC Eye Care provides the individualized care you deserve and need, from your annual eye exam to diagnosis and specialized treatment for conditions such as age-related macular degeneration.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment, meaning that you receive treatment for your AMD where it is now. Although there is presently no cure for AMD, treatments do show promise. Your eye care team works with you to help reduce symptoms and progression of your age-related macular degeneration.
Contact us for an appointment or for answers to your questions or concerns.