Your eyesight is a precious thing and as you age it is important to be diligent about preservation. The leading cause of blindness, among older Americans, is Macular Degeneration.

What is Macular Degeneration?

Your eye is a complex organ, made up of many parts. At the back of the eye is the retina. The center of the retina is called the macula. The retina is responsible for gathering the images we see and sending them through the optic nerve to the brain. The smaller macula is responsible for focusing our central vision. This enables us to read, drive, recognize faces, and see fine details. When the macula deteriorates these images are not received clearly by the brain.

There are two types of Age- related Macular Degeneration (AMD) - wet and dry. The majority of the cases diagnosed are of the dry type. In the early stages most patients don’t notice any change in vision. This is why annual exams are critically important. Even in the intermediate stages, there may already be vision loss, but patients still may not notice the symptoms. It is only in the late stages of AMD that vision loss becomes more and more noticeable.

Doctors don’t know the specific causes and factors that result in AMD but what is known suggests there are both environmental and family links. The main risk factor is age itself. AMD is mostly likely to occur after the age of 55. Other risk factors include family history, smoking, and race. Caucasians are more likely to develop AMD than other races.

There is not a cure for AMD, but there are steps you can take that may slow the progression of the disease: losing weight, exercise, quit smoking, and protect your eyes from ultraviolet light. These steps combined with yearly visits with your eye doctor at Eye Groupi can all help prolong your vision. If you have any questions about your personal risk be sure to talk to your doctor at your next appointment. Don’t have an appointment? Call or use this form.