February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration awareness month, a fact that has prompted the doctors at Nevada Eye Physicians to remind their patients of the importance of regular examinations and eye health. Age-related macular degeneration also referred to as AMD, is one of the most common causes for severe vision loss within the United States among adults above the age of sixty. This unfavorable condition currently has an impact on the vision of approximately fifteen million Americans, reducing their ability to perform regular tasks and see normally. What is AMD? The term “AMD” is used to refer to the gradual and continual breakdown of the macula, the portion of a person’s eye that helps to provide the detailed central vision that is required for clearly seeing objects. Over time, deterioration of the eye can have a serious impact on an individual’s ability to read well, drive safely, recognize faces, navigate stairs, and perform a variety of other daily tasks.
For most adults, the deterioration begins in both eyes, and may not cause any noticeable visual symptoms. For this reason, regular screenings are recommended to detect and treat the vision loss that AMD causes. Please review the video to see an overview of macular degeneration. One thing Nevada Eye Physicians urges patients to remember is that there are two different types of AMD: dry and wet. Most people who suffer from AMD experience the “dry” form, which develops slowly and is often less severe. However, even if you originally suffer from dry AMD, it is possible for the condition to change into wet AMD and cause vision loss to deteriorate much more quickly. Unfortunately, a lot of the people who suffer from AMD do not realize they have a macular problem until they start to see blurring or distortion in their vision. There are currently treatments to help prevent the progression of both dry and wet AMD.
Risk Factors Unfortunately, we aren’t sure exactly what causes AMD, but there are a number of factors that could increase your risk levels for of developing it, including:
- Your ethnicity: Caucasian people more likely to suffer from AMD than African American people.
- Your age: As the title would suggest, age-related macular degeneration appears in people of a particular age most often. Typically, it is seen in individuals over the age of sixty-five, however, it can appear in people who are still in their forties or fifties.
- Your genes: certain genes have been connected to the development of AMD in some people. This is generally the case when more than one member of a family has AMD – but not all cases are believed to be a matter of inheritance.
- Smoking history: Smoking can increase your risk of AMD by two-to-three times higher risk than people who have never smoked
- High blood pressure: people with uncontrolled hypertension are at 1.5x higher risk of developing wet AMD
- Obesity: Being overweight can increase your risk of developing AMD
Although you can’t change your genes or your age, most experts, including the doctors at Nevada Eye Physicians, suggest that taking steps to prevent your eyes from the sun, maintaining a balanced diet, and reducing or stopping smoking where possible, could help in keeping your eyes healthy. Perhaps even more importantly, if you are at risk for AMD, you should see an eye care provider as soon as possible to schedule an exam.
Visiting Nevada Eye Physicians for regular ocular examinations is crucial when it comes to preventing serious vision loss since most of the time early detection is the best form of defense against more serious conditions. For more information or to schedule your appointment today visit our website Nevadaeyephysicians.com or call us today at 702-456-4000.