Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness in the US and most people are unaware of this. The word “age” in AMD doesn’t mean this eye condition only affects the elderly but rather that the incidence of AMD rises with age.
The exact causes are unknown but some risk factors are well established such as age, gender with it being more prominent in women, and race; whites face a higher risk than others as well as obesity, , high blue pressure and having blue eyes.
AMD damages the retina. There are two forms of AMD, dry and wet. The dry form accounts for 90 percent of people with AMD. As AMD progresses patients start to see distortions such as strait lines that appear wavy and words that have letter missing. The later stages may have severe vision loss. In wet AMD blood vessels grow under and into the retina. This blood vessels leak blood and fluid that reduce vision and damage the retina. Blindness from AMD is typically caused by wet AMD.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises a baseline eye exam at age 40 and an exam every year or two at age 65 and older. And, if you experience ANY slowly progressive vision changes, get promptly evaluated by an ophthalmologist. If you have a have sudden or severe change, see an eye doctor immediately.