Macular Degeneration FAQs
Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Frequently Asked Questions
Although Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in the United States, most patients remain unaware that they have the disease until they lose central vision. Your ophthalmologists here at Eastside Eye Physicians PC, St. Clair Shores know that comprehensive eye examinations are essential to early detection and treatment of AMD and will produce the most promising outcomes.
What Is AMD?
The macula is the small central part of the retina responsible for fine details we see with central vision. Reading, sewing, driving, facial recognition, etc. are easy tasks when the macula is healthy. When the macula becomes diseased and begins to deteriorate, less and less clear images are delivered to our brain; ultimately, visual acuity is worsened. Reading and central vision-based tasks become difficult, if not impossible.
Dry Macular Degeneration- the most common form of AMD is the result of thinning macular tissues. Aging causes the macula to break down and accumulate behind the retina, which causes blurry or lost straight vision.
Wet Macular Degeneration- In approximately 10 percent of AMD cases, new blood vessels grow where they should not then leak fluid, blood, or both. Retinal cells die, and permanent blind spots occur in that vital central vision area.
What are the risk factors for AMD?
Age- risk increases as the patient gets older. AMD tends to occur in ages 55+, and many people over 80 have AMD
- Smoking- if you smoke, you double your risk of AMD
- Heredity- family history of AMD increases your risk
- Obesity and inactivity- Obese patients with AMD double the risk of developing an advanced form
- High Blood Pressure
- Race- Caucasians are more likely to develop AMD than African-Americans
What Are The Symptoms of AMD?
Unfortunately, most people tend to laugh off minor vision changes as’ just getting older. The fact is AMD rarely exhibits noticeable symptoms until much vision loss has occurred. Your ophthalmologist can detect AMD before symptoms begin, which is why routine comprehensive eye examinations should be part of our health maintenance as we age.
Symptoms may include:
- A blurred area on a printed page
- Sensitivity to glare and bright light
- Difficulty reading
- Reduced color brightness
- Straight lines appearing to be bent
IS AMD Curable?
AMD can’t be cured or prevented, although there is some support through the use of e-readers, and magnified computer screens.
Your ophthalmologists and their knowledgeable staff at Eastside Eye Physicians at St. Clair Shores are ready to work with you to preserve your precious eyesight. Call for an appointment today at 586-774-2020