Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, as the name suggests, is a major risk for those who are older. However, it can occur earlier as well. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss among those age 50 and older. It causes damage to central vision – what allows us to see things that are straight ahead. It may advance very slowly or more quickly, which can cause loss of vision in one or both eyes. Since it interferes with central vision, it can interfere with everyday activities, such as driving, seeing faces, reading, writing, cooking, and more.
Age is a major factor for developing AMD, but there are several other factors that could increase the likelihood of developing AMD including smoking and having a family history of AMD.
AMD usually starts with no symptoms in the early and intermediate stages. It is possible to detect AMD early, but only through a comprehensive dilated exam. The exam may include:
- Visual acuity test
- Dilated eye exam
- Amsler grid
- Fluorescein angiogram
- Optical coherence tomography
There is currently no treatment for AMD. However, you can take steps that may help reduce your risk of developing AMD. This may include exercising, avoiding smoking, and eating nutritious foods such as green leafy vegetables and fish. Discuss with your eye doctor your family's history of eye disease and find out what they suggest to reduce your risk of developing eye diseases.