Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. The CDC estimates that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at risk for vision loss from AMD.
AMD occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye. AMD presents in two forms, dry and wet. Most people with AMD have the dry form, for which there is no known treatment. The less common wet form may respond to laser treatment and medication injections if diagnosed and treated early.
In the early stages of AMD, patients may not notice any changes to their vision. As the disease progresses, patients may recognize a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly. This may result in wavy or distorted images.
The early detection of AMD is extremely important. Central vision that is lost to AMD cannot be restored, however, many options are available to help patients maximize existing vision.
Researchers and doctors believe there is a link between nutrition and the progression of dry AMD. Making dietary changes and taking nutritional supplements can slow vision loss. AMD has been shown to have a genetic component. Other studies have proven that patients that smoke or have been exposed to smoke are at the greatest risk. Like our skin, chronic UV exposure has proven to be damaging. Wearing sun protection is of utmost importance.