Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60 in developed countries. AMD causes damage to the macula, which is the central part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. This damage can lead to a loss of central vision, making it difficult to read, drive, or recognize faces.
There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD is the more common form, accounting for about 85% of all cases. It is caused by the buildup of drusen, which are small, yellow deposits that form on the macula. As these deposits increase in size and number, they can cause the macula to thin and deteriorate, leading to a gradual loss of vision. Wet AMD, on the other hand, is less common but more severe. It is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the macula, which can leak blood and fluid and cause rapid and severe vision loss.
Symptoms of AMD can include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Difficulty reading or doing close-up work
- Decreased color vision
- Dark or empty areas in your central vision
Risk factors for AMD include:
- Age – the risk of AMD increases as you get older
- Genetics – having a family history of AMD increases your risk
- Smoking – smoking can double your risk of AMD
- Obesity – being overweight or obese increases your risk
- Cardiovascular disease – having a history of cardiovascular disease can increase your risk of AMD
Unfortunately, there is no cure for AMD, but there are treatments that can help slow its progression and manage its symptoms. For dry AMD, treatment may involve the use of nutritional supplements, such as high-dose antioxidants and zinc, which have been shown to slow the progression of the disease. For wet AMD, treatment may involve the use of injections or laser therapy to prevent the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
In addition to treatment, there are also lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk of AMD, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting regular exercise
- Protecting your eyes from UV light with sunglasses and hats
If you are experiencing symptoms of AMD or are at risk for the disease, it is important to see an eye doctor for regular eye exams. Dr. Harleen Bedi, a top ophthalmologist, has extensive experience in the diagnosis and management of AMD. With her expertise and personalized approach to patient care, she can help you understand your risk of AMD and develop a personalized treatment plan to manage your symptoms and preserve your vision. Don’t let AMD steal your vision – contact Dr. Bedi today to schedule an appointment.