Do you know what the most common cause of blindness in Americans is? Do you get frequent eye exams?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in Americans who are 65 and older. Patients usually are unaware of what AMD is and that it can make you go blind.
Did you know that February is age-related macular degeneration awareness month? The goal of this is to bring attention to age-related macular degeneration and to educate about the condition. Let’s learn more about AMD and how to prevent it.
What is AMD?
AMD or age-related macular degeneration affects the part of the retina called the macula. The macula is a tiny part of the retina at the back of the eye.
It allows you to see tiny details and be active. Some examples of activities it impacts are driving and reading.
Age-related macular degeneration can have a variety of symptoms. For example, you can experience cloudy vision, see dark spots, and experience subpar central vision.
AMD can affect your ability to see objects at different distances. It can also make it harder to complete close activities.
Patients with AMD might not be able to sew, drive, or read. AMD only affects your central vision, not your peripheral vision.
For example, you would be able to see the side view mirrors in your car, but you could not see the car in front of you. Over a million Americans are affected by AMD.
For adults 65 and older, it is the main cause of blindness. Also, even adults with more severe cases of AMD are still able to see some things.
They are able to take part in activities and live their lives. The majority of patients only experience minor effects from having AMD.
Can AMD Be Detected Early On?
Getting frequent eye exams is the best way to prevent and catch AMD early on. Detecting it early on is the best way to treat it and prevent it from developing.
Eye exams are the only way an eye professional can see the back of your eye and test for conditions like AMD. Getting infrequent eye exams is not ideal.
When AMD is not diagnosed early on, it becomes more difficult to preserve remaining eyesight and prevent blindness. Having regular eye exams is even more important for those that are 60-65 years old.
At this age, you are at a higher risk for different conditions like glaucoma, AMD, and cataracts. Now, you might wonder, how often should you go to the eye doctor?
Most patients only need to go annually. But if you have contacts and/or glasses or have certain eye conditions, you should go more frequently.
If you experience rapid changes in your vision, call your eye doctor. It could be AMD or another condition that needs immediate attention.
While there is no cure for AMD, new treatments exist that make it easier for patients with AMD to live with it. These treatments make it possible for doctors to help save your vision.
Do you think you could have AMD? When it comes to your vision and health, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Schedule an appointment at Missouri Eye Institute in Springfield, MO today to find out!