Age-Related Macular Degeneration

October 21, 2010 | sylvia

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AMD  Age-related macular degeneration (AMD, also called macular degeneration) is the leading cause of vision loss in North America - it affects one million Canadians and 10 millions Americans.  

 We need central vision to see objects clearly and to do common daily tasks such as reading and driving. AMD is a disease associated with aging that slowly destroys sharp, central vision.

 What causes AMD? Age is the greatest risk factor - people over age 60 are at a higher risk than other age groups. Other factors include: smoking, obesity, race, family history, and gender.

There are two types of AMD: dry and wet.

Dry AMD is more common. It is associated with drusen (small yellow deposits) in the macula. Dry AMD causes the macula to lose its function. The most common symptom of dry AMD is blurred central vision that deteriorates gradually. Dry AMD has three stages: early, intermediate, and advanced. Once dry AMD reaches the advanced stage, no treatment can prevent vision loss. However, treatment can delay and possibly prevent intermediate AMD from progressing to the advanced stage.

Wet AMD accounts for about 15% of all cases of the disease. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula start to leak fluid, causing the retina to become distorted. A common symptom of wet AMD is that straight lines appear wavy, and central vision degrades quickly. Wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, and injections into the eye.

There is no cure for AMD yet, so early detection is very important. If in doubt, talk to your doctor. The earlier AMD is diagnosed, the greater the chances of preventing vision loss.

Your lifestyle can also make a difference in reducing your risk of developing AMD, for example:

  • Eat a healthy diet high in green leafy vegetables and fish.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Maintain normal blood pressure.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Exercise

 Borrow some books and DVD from the Toronto Public Library on your topic:

Understanding Macular Degeneration 100 questions & answers about macular degeneration Macular degeneration - the complete guide to saving and maximizing your sightSave your sight! - natural ways to prevent and reverse macular degeneration  
Healing your eyes with Chinese medicine - acupuncture, acupressure, & chinese herbsCoping with macular degenerationHealling the eye the natural way - alternative medicine and macular degenerationAge-elated macular degeneration - an essential guide for the newly diagnosed

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