Age-related macular degeneration(AMD), as the name states, is an age-related eye disease that runs in families. Untreated macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in those over 65 years old. While researchers have not yet discovered a cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there are treatment options which prevent the disease from progressing to blindness, and in some cases, they can even improve vision. This is why it is so important to have annual exams after the age of 50, early detection of AMD can prevent progression of vision loss. This is especially important if you have risk factors for AMD.
Risk Factors for Age-Related Macular Degeneration:
- Diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
- Over the age of 50
- Family history of AMD
- Are Caucasian (white)
- Have light colored eyes
- Have heart disease
- Have high cholesterol levels
Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration:
There are two basic types of AMD, the wet form, and the dry form.
- Dry macular degeneration is considered the less aggressive form of AMD. It typically progresses much more slowly, and the level of eyesight damage is less severe. Dry AMD is detected during routine eye exams, which is why it’s important to have yearly testing. Treating Dry AMD often involves high doses of antioxidants which have been shown to slow diseases progression.
- Wet macular degeneration is the more severe form of AMD. It occurs when there is abnormal blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), and leakage, which can cause scar tissue to develop. Treatments include laser surgery, injecting light sensitive dyes, or AMD medication injected directly into the eye to inhibit angiogenesis.