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What You Need to Know about Macular Degeneration

October 4, 2017

Macular Degeneration or Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that affects over 10 million Americans. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss among seniors, especially people over the age of 50. The disease causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead. What warning signs should you be looking for, and what if you notice a change in your vision? Let’s take a closer look.

 

Important Facts about AMD – Signs Symptoms and Risk Factors

 

Regular eye exams are critical to catch AMD since most people do not experience vision loss in the early stages of the disease. If you have more than one risk factor, you should have regular eye exams. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Genetics – People with a family history of AMD are at a higher risk.
  • Race – Caucasians are more likely to develop the disease than African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos.
  • Smoking – Smoking doubles the risk of AMD.

As the disease progresses into the intermediate and late stages there may be vision loss as well as yellow deposits beneath the retina called drusen. A comprehensive eye exam with specific tests will look for larger drusen and/or pigment changes in the retina.While there is currently no known cure for Macular Degeneration, there are things you can do to reduce your risk and possibly slow the progression once you’ve been diagnosed. For example, one can pursue lifestyle changes like dieting, exercise, avoiding smoking, and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light.

Contact Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons if you have questions about your vision or would like to set up an appointment. 617-232-9600.