Untreated macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in those over 65 years old.
While researchers have not yet discovered a cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there are treatment options which prevent the disease from progressing to blindness, and in some cases, they can even improve vision. It’s important to have an open discussion with your eye doctor about the risks and limitations of AMD treatments.
Types of Macular Degeneration:
There are 2 basic types of AMD, the wet form, and the dry form.
- Dry macular degeneration is considered the less aggressive form of AMD. It typically progresses much more slowly, and the level of eyesight damage is less severe. Dry AMD is detected during routine eye exams, which is why it’s important to have yearly testing. Treating Dry AMD often involves high doses of zinc and antioxidants which have been shown to slow diseases progression.
- Wet macular degeneration is the more severe form of AMD. It occurs when there is abnormal blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), and leakage, which can cause scar tissue to develop. Treatments include laser surgery, injecting light-sensitive dyes, or AMD medication injected directly into the eye to inhibit angiogenesis.
What are Risks for Macular Degeneration?
Aging can lead to health concerns like high blood pressure, cholesterol, and even heart disease that in our youth we rarely had to monitor. However, for those of us who are over the age of 60 (and over 50 for Caucasians), the risk of age-related macular degeneration increases and taking preventative steps through annual eye exams with a Kelowna optometrist is essential. While treatments are available, advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is incurable and will lead to permanent vision loss if not monitored and managed.
The main factor is aging, thus age-related macular degeneration, yet a number of other best practices should be implemented to ensure optimal eye health.
Risk factors for Age-Related Macular Degeneration can include:
- Genes, Race, & Family’s Medical HistoryFamilies who include light-colored irises like blue or green can develop early signs of AMD even in their 50s. Genetic makeup or family history that includes age-related macular degeneration will also mean a person is at higher risk.
- Vitamins & Supplements
At Glenmore Optometry, we have an advanced diagnostic tool called MaculaRisk to calculate your exact needs for preventing macular degeneration. MaculaRisk will depict which deficiencies you need to rectify and what factors (even specific minerals/vitamins) may be progressing your case of macular degeneration. More information can be found here.
- Healthy Eating
Start to include vegetables, fruit, and even vitamin supplements can ensure healthier eyesight. Make sure to include lutein and zeaxanthin in your diet, such as by eating green leafy vegetables.
- Lose Weight & Exercise
Overweight, obesity and lack of exercise are always a health risk. If you get in shape and start to set a daily exercise regimen, you can reduce your risks for age-related macular degeneration as well as other health risks.
- Stop Smoking!
One of the most basic ways to reduce the risk of AMD is to avoid smoking at all costs. Aside from the other various health risks that can develop from smoking, macular degeneration can mean permanent vision loss if smoking is continued.
AMD is an age-related eye disease that runs in families and is a leading cause of blindness in our aging population. There is no cure for this ocular disease, and AMD related vision loss is cannot usually be recovered. There are treatments, and preventative measures that can be taken, if detected early, so routine eye exams are essential.
Read more about macular degeneration symptoms and treatment.
Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!