Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is also often referred to as simply macular degeneration (these two terms are used interchangeably). It is exactly as its name suggests: a gradual degradation of the macula. It is a serious, vision-threatening disease that currently has no cure.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration Causes
The primary cause of AMD is age, though there are other contributing factors as well:
- UV radiation (most commonly from our sun, tanning beds, and other artificial sources of UV)
- Smoking – Cigarettes are linked with exacerbating AMD’s development
- Obesity – Research suggests that obesity not only makes you more likely to develop macular degeneration, but that it can accelerate the pace of AMD’s development
- Ethnicity – Certain ethnicities are more likely to develop AMD (it is more common in caucasians than other groups)
- Genetics – Research has shown that macular degeneration is more likely if you have a family history of it
Age-Related Macular Degeneration Symptoms
Like most eye diseases, AMD begins its development silently. It doesn’t demonstrate obvious symptoms; rather, it’s progression is marked by subtle, gradual changes to your vision. This causes many people to not realize that something is wrong until an obvious change to their vision has occurred. Regular eye exams for senior citizens is an important and vital part of maintaining lifelong eye health.
Recognizing the Signs of Macular Degeneration
If you’re getting on in years, pay attention to things that may indicate the development of AMD:
- Visual distortions
- Areas of blurry or hazy vision
- Difficulty reading at night
- Significant change in the saturation and vibrance of colours
- Difficulty discerning details, especially at a distance (faces, signs, etc.)
AMD Treatment & Management
As mentioned prior, there is no cure for AMD at this time. However, early detection (via a comprehensive eye exam) and management can delay and impair its development.
Studies have shown that lifestyle factors, and diet specifically, can influence AMD and prolong the timeline of good visual acuity. As the disease progresses, we work to help you maintain your independence by facilitating your vision as much as possible (through corrective lenses, specialized equipment, and other tools that assist with low vision).
Learn more about how we treat and manage AMD.