Age-related Macular Degeneration

You may have heard of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), but did you know that early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing vision loss from this serious eye disease? During February, Atlantic Eye joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in putting a special focus on this stealthy vision-stealer.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disease that happens when part of the retina called the macula is damaged. The macula is the part of the eye that delivers the sharp, central vision we need to see objects straight ahead. Over time, the loss of central vision can interfere with everyday activities, such as the ability to drive, read, and see faces clearly.

The Academy recommends the following steps to help you take control of your eye health and reduce your risk for AMD:

  1. Get regular comprehensive medical eye exams. The Academy recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening from an ophthalmologist at age 40 — the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur.
  2. Quit smoking. Numerous studies show that smoking doubles the risk of developing AMD.
  3. Eat a well-balanced diet. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and nutrient-packed foods, such as salmon and nuts, may reduce the risk of AMD. Fresh fish, an important source of omega-3s, also lowers risk of developing the disease.
  4. Take the right kind of vitamins. Vitamins can delay progression of advanced AMD and help people keep their vision longer if they have intermediate AMD or advanced AMD in one eye. Talk with your ophthalmologist about which brands have been proven effective in clinical trials.
  5. Exercise regularly. Exercising three times a week can reduce the risk of developing wet AMD by 70 percent. Studies also show that physical activity may lower the odds of both early and late-stages of AMD.
  6. Monitor your sight with an Amsler Grid. This simple, daily routine takes less than one minute and can help people with AMD find vision changes that are not obvious. Take the Amsler Grid daily vision test here to check your eyesight.
  7. Know your family’s eye health history. If you have a close relative with AMD, you have a 50 percent greater chance of developing the condition.

AMD is a sneak thief that can begin to rob you of vision before you’re aware it’s there. Our ophthalmologists at Atlantic Eye have more tools than ever before to diagnose the disease earlier, and to treat it better. If you’re 40 or older and haven’t had a baseline eye disease screening, call us for an appointment today. Where managing AMD is concerned, early detection is the key!