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Macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. AMD stands for age-related macular degeneration, a disease associated with aging. Therefore, it will have a greater impact on the senior citizen population. However, it's always important to have early detection in order to reduce the risk of irreversible vision loss.

Macular degeneration is an eye condition that affects your central vision. It is caused by damage to the back part of your eye called the macula which is responsible for your central vision.

What are the Different Forms of Macular Degeneration?

There are two forms of AMD.

Dry AMD

Most patients with AMD have the dry form. Although AMD can lead to blindness, most of the time it doesn’t cause blindness. Dry AMD is caused by waste deposits forming in the retina, which can progress over time.

Wet AMD

Another form of AMD is wet macular degeneration. This form is characterized by waste deposits in the retina, as well as new blood vessels growing under the retina, which are usually leaky, causing bleeding and fluid accumulation under the retina. As a result, the back of your eye gets swollen. Usually, this type of AMD has a more severe impact on your central vision and is more difficult to manage. Even though some of the bleeding and swelling can be treated, it can recur and be harder to treat.

What are the Different Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?

  • It may be difficult for you to walk, recognize faces, and do fine detail work
  • You might notice that things are a little bit blurrier, or it may seem like your glasses aren't working as well
  • In later stages, your vision can become somewhat blurry or distorted, so if you're looking at a straight line, you might notice that it has some sort of wave or wiggle to it
  • You may have reduced contrast sensitivity, meaning colors appear different to you
  • Your central vision may be affected by blind spots

What Can You do to Prevent Macular Degeneration?

It is not possible to cure macular degeneration as there are several risk factors that are beyond our control, such as aging and having a family history of the disease.

But there are other things that you can do to support your retinal health, and either try to prevent getting AMD or at least slow the progression of the disease.

  • Wearing sun protection is important. UV rays may progress the AMD a little bit further.
  • There are specific nutrients that are extremely important for retinal health, studies show that Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two major carotenoids found in the human eye (macula and retina), protect the eye tissues from sunlight damage. They are found in supplements called AREDS2, which are a combination of vitamins named after the study, Age Related Eye Disease Study (2), that showed the reduction of vision loss with those who had these nutrients of around 25% at 5 years.  It is recommended that you begin taking these recommended nutrients either through vitamins or by adding dark green leafy vegetables that contain vitamin C, E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and copper. In essence, that's what vitamin supplements are made of, but you can also get it naturally in your diet.
  • Smoking is also a major risk factor for AMD. There is almost a three-fold greater risk of AMD progression in smokers than in non-smokers.
Get superior care when you schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam by visiting our reputable optometry clinic in Olympia, conveniently serving patients from nearby Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. Call (360) 491-2121 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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