Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over age 55 and affects about one-third of all Americans over age 65. Because older people make up the fastest growing segment of our population, macular degeneration is a significant public health issue. Located in the center of the retina, the macula is the size of this “o” and is the critical area we use for reading and central vision. The disease leads to loss of central vision and can make it impossible for affected individuals to drive, read and care for themselves.
Modifying one’s lifestyle may reduce the odds for early AMD
- Don’t smoke.
- Consume a low-fat diet.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, and nuts.
- Include 2-3 servings fish per week in your diet.
- Exercise regularly (walking, cycling, swimming, etc.)
- Wear sunglasses and/or hat to protect against chronic sun exposure.
Patients with early forms of the disease may not experience any macular degeneration symptoms. They may have drusen, or yellowish deposits underneath the retina. Patients with later forms of the disease may experience a loss of central vision and may view straight objects, such as doorways or lines of print, as wavy or curved.
Forms of AMD
There are two forms of late AMD: the nonexudative, or dry form, accounting for 80-90% of affected patients and exudative, or wet form, which affects about 10% of patients.
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