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Posted on 02-07-2018

The month of February is age-related macular degeneration (AMD) awareness month.  AMD is a leading cause of vision loss that affects 1.6 million Americans age 50 and older.  AMD is a condition that primarily affects the part of the retina that is responsible for sharp central vision (the macula).  There are two forms of AMD.  Dry AMD is the early form that is slowly progressive. It usually causes mild to moderate loss of clear vision centrally.  Wet AMD is less common, but more vision threatening.  Wet AMD gets its name from the fact that tiny blood vessels start to grow under the retina.  These tiny blood vessels are weak and break, leaking blood into the retina.  This eventually leads to the formation of scar tissue in the macula.  The exact cause of AMD is not known, but risk factors include age, white race, cigarette smoking, and diets low in anti-oxidants.  There is currently no treatment for the dry form of AMD. There are laser therapies and new medications that can be used to slow the progress of the wet form of AMD.  Research shows doses of zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C can help slow the advance of the disease, but does not necessarily prevent it.  Not smoking cigarettes and protecting the eyes from ultraviolet light exposure may also be beneficial. For those who do lose vision from AMD, there are many kinds of low vision aids that can help them with reading and other near tasks. Regular eye examinations can detect AMD in its early stages.  It is recommended that persons age 60 and older have an annual eye exam.

The following infographic gives a great visual for the information described above!

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