Did you know February is AMD & Low Vision Awareness Month? California Retina Consultants wants to help bring awareness to AMD, its symptoms, and the steps that can be taken to help prevent vision loss. Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the country, affecting over 2 million people over the age of 50 in the U.S. AMD is the breakdown of the macula, which is a small spot in the retina that is responsible for our central vision and allows us to have sharp and clear vision.
The primary risk factor for AMD is age. However, the condition can occur at any age, and certain factors can increase the chance of developing AMD. These risk factors include smoking- which can double your risk, genetics- if you have a family history of AMD, and race- Caucasians are more susceptible.
The symptoms of AMD are usually gradual, painless, and can vary from person to person. Most of the time, people will not realize they have AMD until vision loss has already begun. This is why it is crucial to see your ophthalmologist regularly in order to catch early warning signs of the disease. The visual symptoms of AMD include blurry central vision, distortion of straight lines or objects, difficulty reading, difficulty recognizing faces, and decreased brightness of colors.
Although there is no “cure” to reverse vision damage caused by AMD, there are therapies that can help stabilize or reduce the rate of vision loss. Antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplementation, and consuming dark leafy greens and colorful fruits and vegetables are beneficial steps than can be taken in your everyday lifestyle. Also, keeping an Amsler-Grid at home will help alert you if your vision might indicate a potential problem.
For severe vision loss, there is treatment option available called an Anti-VEGF injection. This injection is designed to block a molecule called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) which can help those with the wet form of AMD. Another treatment option is called Photodynamic
Therapy that utilizes a cold laser to treat areas of the retina, as well as traditional laser therapy that utilizes a hot laser. California Retina Consultants is proud to have participated in dozens of FDA research studies to help pave the way for retinal disease treatment.
Early detection is the key to slowing vision loss associated with AMD. It is important to constantly monitor the symptoms and make sure to see an ophthalmologist regularly. To learn more about AMD treatments, call any of our Central California locations or click here.