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What Older Americans Need to Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

In addition to age, other risk factors for AMD include: a history of smoking, genetics and family history, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.

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What Older Americans Need to Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration
What Older Americans Need to Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

“AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness,” says Dr. Andrea Zimmerman, Low Vision Specialist at Lighthouse Guild. “If you are over 60, you are at risk for AMD, which is why even if you have no symptoms, you should get an eye exam once a year,”

(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is a common eye disease that can threaten your vision, particularly if you are over 60. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about 1.5 million Americans have late AMD, and 18.3 million Americans have early AMD. Because AMD has few symptoms in the early stages and can progress slowly, early detection is key to preserving vision.

Age-related macular degeneration damages the macular, a part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision. The macula allows you to see fine detail like reading, watching TV, and recognizing faces. If your macula is damaged, you can develop blank or blurry spots in your vision, so when you look at someone you might not see the middle of their face.

There are two forms of AMD: Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula break down. This gradually blurs your central vision, and it might cause glare and color-related contrast problems. It accounts for up to 90 percent of all AMD cases. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels growing under the macula leak fluid and blood, resulting in swelling and damage of the macula. Some people with dry AMD develop wet AMD. Either condition can appear first.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Vision
Make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam with an ophthalmologist or optometrist
Quit smoking
Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and fish
Maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Exercise regularly and stay at a healthy weight

February is Macular Degeneration Awareness Month and Low Vision Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to get a jump start on protecting your vision!

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