Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible severe central vision loss in Caucasians 50 years and older in the United States.
AMD is a common eye disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision.
The progression of AMD can be slow or rapid, but the deterioration of central vision generally occurs over a period of a few years. If you experience the following, see your eye doctor:
- Straight lines appear wavy
- Difficulty seeing at a distance
- Decreased ability to distinguish colors
- Inability to see details, such as faces or words in a book
- Dark or empty spots block your center of vision
Although it’s not certain what causes macular degeneration, several studied have shown the following individuals may be at risk:
- Individuals over the age of 60
- People that suffer from hypertension
- Individuals that smoke
- Postmenopausal women
- Individuals with a family history of AMD
Laser treatment can sometimes treat the “wet” form of macular degeneration (the rarer, but more severe form). However, there is no proven, effective treatment yet for the “dry” form (the most common form). But with both, low vision rehabilitation can help those with significant vision loss to maintain an excellent quality of life.
As always, early detection is your best defense against losing vision. So if you are at risk, see your eye doctor for a complete eye exam at least every one to two years.