Age-related macular degeneration is a long title for a big problem. In fact, it currently affects more than 2.1 million Americans and that number is expected to double by 2015.
The National Eye Institute has deemed February Low Vision Awareness Month, so it's a good time to review the risk factors for and symptoms of AMD.
The first thing you should know about AMD is that early detection is critical because there are treatments that can help delay the progression or reduce the severity of the disease. Anyone over age 50 is at risk (in fact, it is the leading cause of vision loss for people 50 and older), but other risk factors include:
There are two types of AMD, dry and wet, with dry being less severe and more common. In dry AMD, the macula deteriorates and central vision becomes blurry or blind spots occur. At any time, dry AMD can progress into wet AMD, which will result in abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina and leaking fluid and blood into the macula. This will cause more severe visual distortion and eventually blindness.
If you or an older adult in your care hasn't had one this year, please consider making an appointment for an eye exam and ask the doctor to be sure to look for symptoms of AMD. If you would like more information about AMD, please visit the National Eye Institute. For more information about a professional CAREGiver who can help older adults affected by vision or other health issues, please contact us!
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