Macular Degeneration: Myths and Facts

Hand flipping wooden cubes for change wording from “fake” to “fact”.

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is one of the primary causes of vision loss in adults. In spite of its prevalence, there is a lot of misinformation circulating about AMD. In this post, the team at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons clears up the most common AMD myths.

The symptoms of AMD are always noticeable.

Actually, most people with AMD do not even know they have it! The earlier, more common stage of the disease, “dry” AMD, may cause subtle changes to vision (that can be attributed to other causes) or no changes at all. It is common to not know anything is wrong until an eye exam detects signs of the disease. This should underscore the importance of getting regular eye exams!

AMD can affect individuals of all ages.

As the name suggests, advancing age is a primary risk factor for AMD. Although a very small number of children inherit macular degeneration, AMD is most likely to affect adults over the age of 50.

AMD can cause total blindness.

AMD is the breakdown of cells in the macula, which controls the clarity of our central vision. As the cells die, it becomes increasingly difficult to read, drive and recognize faces. However, even in the most advanced cases of AMD, patients still retain side vision and can make accommodations to use their side vision more effectively.

AMD can be cured.

There is currently no proven cure for AMD. But if you or a loved one is diagnosed with AMD, there are steps you can take to slow down or prevent the progression of the disease. With the proper care, AMD can be managed and existing vision can be preserved.

In the early stage of AMD, our doctors recommend practicing healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating plenty of leafy green vegetables and fish, exercising regularly and not smoking. A nutritional supplement containing the AREDS/AREDS2 formula is specifically recommended for cases of dry AMD.

In the later, more advanced “wet” stage of AMD — wherein abnormal blood vessels grow and leak fluid and blood into the macula — our doctors recommend medications and/or laser therapy to stop the leakage and halt the development of the vessels.

Consult with Our AMD Specialists

Our doctors offer expert care for cases of wet and dry AMD. We can help to clear up any further misconceptions you may have about the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with AMD and want more information about your treatment options, please reach out to us today via phone or email.