Written by Lisa Marie Wark, MBA & Assoc.,*February is National AMD/Low Vision awareness month, a fact that has prompted the doctors at Nevada Eye & Ear 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 site 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 continuing breakdown of the macula, the portion in 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 one eye, and may eventually start to form in the other. Please review the video to see an overview of macular degeneration. View Video One thing Nevada Ear and Eye 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 deteriorate if it is not quickly assessed and diagnosed, into wet AMD – the more serious condition. 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 gender: women are more likely to suffer from AMD than men. • 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. Unfortunately, a lot of the people who suffer with AMD do not realize they have a macular problem until they start to see blurring or distortion in their vision. Although you can’t change your genes or your age, most experts, including the doctors at Nevada Eye and Ear, 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 and Ear 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.
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*Lisa Marie Wark, MBA owns a social media agency and is a business development consultant with a concentration in medical spas and alternative clinics. Currently she is President of Lisa Marie Wark, MBA & Assoc., a business development and social media firm that provides physicians the necessary business tools to help them build or expand their practices into fee for service business models.