Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is an eye disease common among people aged 50 and older. Eye care specialists at Vision Care Plus share an overview of AMD, and what you can do if your or your loved one is afflicted by it.
What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
The macula is the part of the eye that senses light, and it’s the most sensitive part of the retina. A healthy macula allows clear vision. If the macula starts degenerating, the center of the field of vision may begin appearing blurry, distorted or dark. While macular degeneration does not, by itself, lead to blindness, it can interfere with daily activities where clear central vision is a necessity, such as driving, reading and facial recognition.
Detecting Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration doesn’t exhibit any symptoms in its early stages. The only way you can catch it before it starts affecting your vision is by undergoing a comprehensive eye examination, conducted by an eye care professional. An important part of the test is the dilated eye exam, in which the eye doctor will apply drops of ophthalmic atropine to the eyes. This will dilate the pupils, which will let the doctor examine the condition of the retina and optic nerve for signs of AMD, glaucoma and other eye problems. Other tests include visual acuity tests and optical coherence tomography.
There is currently no known treatment for early stages of age-related macular degeneration, as the symptoms are not obvious. Patients may need to take comprehensive eye examinations at least once a year to see its progression before coming up with a treatment plan. The patient will be advised to make changes to their lifestyle and habits, such as including more green and leafy vegetables in their diet, getting more exercise, and quitting smoking.
Tests on food supplements that contain vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper have shown positive results. These supplements have shown to help reduce the risk of intermediate to late AMD by as much as 25%. Treatments for advanced neovascular AMD are also available, including laser surgery, but eligibility may be affected by many factors, such as age and progression of AMD.
To learn more about age-related macular degeneration, or our eye care services, call Vision Care Plus today at (844) 201-5900. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors. We serve Drayton Valley and Camrose, AB.