For nearly 11 million Americans, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a reality that impairs vision and causes significant lifestyle changes. With no current cure, AMD remains a frustrating and emotionally draining condition for the millions of Americans that live with it.
If you’re living with AMD, it is understandable to have questions and concerns. Answers can be hard to come by, and when Googling, information can be contradictory. We understand, and we’re here to help you answer those questions and give you the right information.
Despite the fact that AMD can have serious implications on your sight, it rarely causes total blindness. Rather, AMD causes blind spots to appear in your central vision. The severity of these spots varies from person to person.
Causes – The macula (the part of the eye responsible for central vision) is delicate. As we age, the cells in the macula begin to wear down. This process results in opaque deposits, called drusen, that form on the macula and impair vision. The exact cause for this is not yet fully understood, though researchers have identified certain lifestyle factors and other variables that may influence it.
Unfortunately, age appears to be the most significant factor.
Symptoms – AMD does not present pain, illness, or other clear indications that it is forming. As well, its development is often gradual. The primary symptoms of AMD are its effects on your vision, including distorted central vision and the development of blind spots.
Diagnosis – AMD is diagnosed via a comprehensive eye exam. During the exam we utilize several tests and diagnostic tools, from the venerable amsler grid test to ultra-precise imaging using ocular coherence tomography. We will be able to determine the type and severity of your AMD.
Management – Unfortunately, there’s no outright cure for AMD at this time. However, several studies have identified lifestyle factors and dietary supplementation that can have a significant influence on AMD’s development.
Lifestyle factors include:
Macular degeneration has several tell-tale signs, though these signs aren’t always obvious until behind the lens of a retinal camera or via ocular coherence tomography (OCT).
With a proper diagnosis, we can create a management strategy that minimizes AMD’s progression and preserves as much of your vision as possible.