February is National AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month. The goal of this initiative is to teach people about the risks of AMD and other vision impairments in the hope that everyone gets the treatment they need for better eye health. Did you know that Florida Eye Specialists has a guide to help those with Age-Related Macular Degeneration and a complementary at-home Amsler grid to test this condition’s progress? Download our Complementary AMD Guide & Amsler Grid.
What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
The macula is a tiny spot in the middle of the retina and plays a big role in your vision. It is rich with photoreceptors and helps you to distinguish different grades of colors and light. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is exactly as its name suggests: a degenerative condition brought on by the aging process that results in the progressive deterioration of the macula.
Most people who suffer from AMD have dry macular degeneration, which is characterized by a gradual progression of symptoms. However, it is possible for this condition to turn into wet macular degeneration, which occurs when fluid (often small amounts of blood) leaks into the macula. The wet version of AMD is more severe and can progress much more quickly compared to dry macular degeneration.
How will AMD affect my life?
The symptoms that come with AMD range from mild to severe. They may begin with a slight distortion of your vision in the center of your eye (where the macula is located), and can progress to complete vision loss. Besides distorted and blurred vision, AMD patients may experience symptoms such as:
- Blind spots
- Difficulty seeing in low light
- Distortion of straight lines
While the blurring, distortions, and blind spots usually begin in the center of the eye, they can migrate out to other parts of the eye as AMD progresses.
What treatment options are available for AMD?
There is no known cure for AMD, but that doesn’t mean that patients living with the condition don’t have any options. There are different types of treatment to help slow the progression of the disease and relieve some of the symptoms. Your doctor may give you prescription medication, and some forms of AMD may require injections into the eye that help prevent new blood vessels from forming that can lead to wet macular degeneration.
What to do if you think you have AMD
Age is by far the most common factor that leads to macular degeneration, and doctors suggest that all people over the age of 55 should monitor their vision for signs of symptoms. If you’re able to begin treatment before the condition progresses significantly, there is a better chance that you’ll be able to maintain a high quality of life with AMD for a long time.
This February, use AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month as an opportunity to get yourself checked for signs of AMD. Schedule an appointment with Florida Eye Specialists, and one of our ophthalmologists can assess your eye health and recommend treatment for your AMD.