Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that causes blurred central vision. Unfortunately, there is no cure for AMD, but the good news is that the condition doesn’t lead to complete blindness, although the blurriness can make it difficult to drive, read, and carry out daily activities.
An important thing to note about AMD is that it’s not the same for everyone but can come in two forms: Wet and Dry. If you are approaching the age of 60 and concerned about your vision health, here’s what you should know about this condition.
Wet vs. Dry AMD
There is a distinction made between wet and dry AMD because they impact a person differently. However, instead of thinking of them as two different diseases, try to think of them as being on either end of the AMD spectrum.
Dry AMD is the most common form, affecting about 90% of people suffering from age-related macular degeneration, according to the National Institutes of Health. This type of AMD is characterized by the cells of the macula — which is the small area at the back of the eye that helps you see fine details.
When you have dry macular degeneration, the cells of the macular will thin over time and start to break down. This type of AMD will get worse in most cases, but it is less severe overall than wet AMD.
Wet AMD is different from dry AMD in that it is caused by abnormal blood vessels growing in the back of the eye. These vessels are very fragile and when they break, the blood and fluids leak into the macula, which can cause severe damage to vision.
The good news is that having dry AMD doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop wet AMD, but dry macular degeneration can progress into the wet form. AMD of both types can also advance differently in one eye than the other.
Can You Prevent AMD?
Researchers are currently working on an effective treatment for dry AMD. Current management regimes involve a blend of vision supplements designed to reduce the risk of severe vision loss. At Eye Center South, we offer multiple vision supplements to aid in good macula health. Click here to learn more. Unfortunately, a cure is not yet known for dry or wet AMD, so some amount of vision loss can be expected.
For individuals with wet AMD, one of the most widely used forms of treatment right now is anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medication, which is delivered into the eye using a syringe. Typically, this medication is administered on a monthly basis by your doctor, and it helps reduce the growth of abnormal blood vessels along with swelling in the retina, which can also contribute to loss of vision.
If you have not yet been diagnosed with AMD, there are additional steps you can take to try and prevent this condition. Certain genetic factors may predispose you to AMD, but you can reduce the risks by eating a diet rich in leafy greens, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking.
Getting Screened for AMD
A comprehensive annual vision screen should be part of your annual vision care plan if you are over the age of 60 or know that AMD runs in the family. Ideally, everyone should get a comprehensive screening that includes pupil dilation at least once before the age of 50.
If you’re worried about your vision health, schedule a detailed vision exam with a Vision Center South provider and empower yourself with knowledge about your eye health. Request an appointment today .