Diagnosing And Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration

AMD, or age-related macular degeneration, is a common eye condition that affects older adults. Over time, it can lead to vision loss and require treatments by your optometrist. The condition is one of many that can be found with a routine eye exam, showing exactly why your exam is important, even if you don't need glasses. Here is more information about diagnosing and treating this eye condition.

Risk Factors for AMD

While anyone can get this eye condition, there are some people who are more prone to it than others. This includes someone who is older, smokes cigarettes, is obese, has high blood pressure, or who has a family history of the condition. If you are a female and Caucasian, you are also more likely to develop AMD than someone who is not. If you have any of these risk factors, don't hesitate to schedule regular eye exams.

Types of AMD

There are two types of AMD, including wet AMD and dry AMD. Dry AMD causes loss of vision from an interference of the photoreceptor function in the eyes. Blurry vision is the main symptom of dry AMD, with a blind spot growing over time. Wet AMD does not occur as often as dry AMD, though is a more severe form of vision loss.

The Common Signs and Symptoms

If you are in between annual eye exams, you might be wondering if you have one of these conditions. Only an optometrist can tell you that, but there are some symptoms that tend to be common among people with AMD. These signs and symptoms include:

  • Not being able to see colors correctly
  • Sudden and dramatic change in vision
  • Wavy lines when they should be straight
  • Blurry central vision
  • Not being able to see things in the distance
  • Not seeing details clearly
  • Seeing blank or dark spots in the central vision

The Treatment Options

The treatments available vary depending on if you have wet or dry AMD. For wet AMD, treatment options include getting injections into the eye of medications to help slow the progression of vision loss, photodynamic therapy, and laser surgery. For dry AMD, it begins with trying to slow down the disease in order to reduce vision loss. This includes taking dietary supplements and getting regular eye exams.

Preventing AMD

While you may not be able to prevent the development of wet or dry AMD, there are ways to reduce your chances. This includes eating a healthy diet with plenty of fish and green leafy vegetables, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking cigarettes, and getting your blood pressure checked on a regular basis.