Age-Related Macular Degeneration
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.
Borrow some books and DVD from the Toronto Public Library on your topic:
- AMD Alliance International: Rehabilitation
- CNIB: Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
- Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology: Acupuncture for Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Antioxidant Supplements and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
- mayoclinic.com: Dry macular degeneration, Wet macular degeneration
- MedlinePlus: Macular Degeneration
- National Eye Institute: Age-Related Macular Degeneration: What You Should Know