Age-related macular degeneration is a serious Indianapolis health issue that occurs when the macula breaks down or deteriorates, causing loss of central vision. The macula is a small area at the center of the retina in the back of the eye that allows us to see fine details clearly and perform tasks such as reading and driving. AMD occurs as part of the body’s natural aging process, affecting people by age 60. It’s the most common cause of vision loss for people over age 65.
Risk factors for AMD include:
- Being over age 60
- Having a family history of AMD
- Smoking cigarettes
Individuals with any two of these risk factors should schedule an appointment with an Eye M.D. for an evaluation. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 – often the age when early signs of diseases and changes in vision begin to occur. The screening exam will help your eye doctor determine how often you need to be seen in the future.
There are two types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: dry and wet. Nine out of ten patients with AMD have the dry version, which results in the thinning of the macular. Dry AMD develops over many years but can develop into the more serious wet AMD if left untreated. Treatment for dry AMD includes a vitamin regimen that can halt the progress of the disease and save the vision of many people. And, research conducted by Indiana University shows that a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids lowers the risk for the disease. Watch this video about Dry AMD to learn more.
Wet AMD is less common but more serious. In this type of AMD, abnormal blood vessels may grow in a layer beneath the retina, leaking fluid and blood, creating a distortion or a large blind spot in the center of vision. If the blood vessels are not growing directly under the center of the macular, a procedure called photodynamic therapy (PDT) can be used. This procedure causes fewer side effects. Watch this video about Wet AMD to learn more.
Individuals who suffer from Age-Related Macular Degeneration can use high intensity reading lamps, magnifiers and other low vision aids to make the most of their remaining vision.
Learn more about the Department of Ophthalmology at www.iueye.iu.edu
-Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute