Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD, the leading cause of blindness in the United States, is caused by deterioration of certain cells in the macula, a portion of the retina located at the back of the eye that is responsible for clear, sharp vision.
Cause: Unsure, could be attributed to lack of certain vitamins and minerals to the retina; circulation breakdown to the retina; excessive levels of cholesterol or sugar in the diet; hypertension; excessive exposure to ultraviolet light; and heredity.
Symptoms: The gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision and a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision.
What you can do: If you are over 50, you need to schedule an eye examination at least every two years with your optometrist.
Good News: Certain deep green and dark yellow or orange fruits and vegetables, such as: spinach, cantaloupe, mango, acorn or butternut squash and sweet potatoes, may help prevent or slow the progression of AMD.
At high-risk: AMD is high among Caucasians ages 65 to 74 (11 percent); women tend to get the disease more than men. However, the incidence of this disease is low among African Americans, Asians and American Indians.
With life expectancy figures continuing to climb, managing AMD successfully can be essential for people to live healthy, happy, and productive lives. By performing a regular, comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist can successfully detect AMD. Then, your optometrist can treat AMD in conjunction with your other health care providers.