February Is Age-related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

AMD or age-related macular degeneration is the primary cause of vision loss and blindness for people above 60 in the United States. Experts predict the prevalence of AMD will reach epidemic proportions as the Baby Boomer generation grows older. It is a progressive condition that has no known cure. 


It gradually causes vision loss by affecting the retina. This is the ultra-thin layer of tissue lining the back of your eye. AMD causes the cells in this region to die. Consequently, you will experience grayness, blind spots, and other visual distortions.


February is national AMD awareness month, and to commemorate it, here are a few things you should know.


AMD’s Risk Factors


Experts do not know the exact cause of age-related macular degeneration. However, some controllable risk factors play a major role. Most stroke or heart disease risk factors also put you at risk for age-related macular degeneration. 

They include smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol. High blood pressure, gender, age, race, and family history are also risk factors.


AMD’s Symptoms


Some of the most common symptoms of age-related macular degeneration include seeing blind spots, wavy lines, or blurriness. You may also experience the following distortions in your vision:


  • The doorways seem crooked

  • Faces or straight lines are wavy

  • Objects appear further away or smaller


If you have any of the symptoms above, you should visit your eye doctor right away. Additionally, you should visit a retina specialist if you have the correct wet age-related macular degeneration diagnosis.


How to Minimize Your Risk for AMD


To date, there is no known cure for the condition. However, a healthy diet and lifestyle can help minimize your risk for AMD. Maintaining optimal blood pressure, eating healthy, and not smoking are promising first steps. Others include:


  • Maintain optimal weight and cholesterol levels. Also, you should keep your body healthy by exercising regularly. A healthy body fosters good eye health

  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish. These foods are good for your eye health. They include sardines, mackerel, albacore tuna, salmon, and herring. Try including them in your diet at least once a week

  • Eat a lot of green, leafy vegetables. These include spinach, kale, and collard greens. Fresh fruits are also good for eye health

  • Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and blue light. You can achieve this by wearing a hat with a visor and sunglasses in bright sunlight


In Conclusion


In February, observe and create awareness about AMD. Millions of people live with this condition and need to know that solutions are available. Although there is no known cure, there are plenty of ways of living with age-related macular degeneration. Also, you can try a wide variety of helpful devices until you find the best fit for you. 


Most importantly, you should see your ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. It helps catch such eye conditions in their early stages, allowing your doctor to administer treatment right away.


For more on age-related macular degeneration, contact Omaha Primary Eye Care at our office in Elkhorn, Nebraska. You can call 402-383-0780 today to schedule an appointment.