Macular degeneration is a painless eye disorder that results from the deterioration of a part of the retina called the macula. The risk of developing macular degeneration rises significantly with age, which has led to the alternative name Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). According to The National Eye Institute, AMD is the leading cause of vision problems in people aged 50 and older. There are two types of AMD, dry and wet, with dry AMD progressing slowly while wet AMD impacts vision quickly. Both conditions are characterized by deterioration and eventual loss of central, straight-ahead vision.
Assessing Risk Factors
Even though the cause is still unknown, studies have shown that the following things make a person more susceptible to developing macular degeneration. To assess whether you are at risk for macular degeneration, ask yourself the following questions:
Am I Approaching an Advanced Age?
The risk for developing macular degeneration increases significantly as you age, but not all older people will develop this condition. Usually, symptoms of AMD first appear in your 50s and 60s.
Do I Smoke?
Multiple studies published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the British Journal of Ophthalmology, and the International Journal of Ophthalmology note that the findings on AMD risk factors are contradictory depending on the study. However, although no single overriding factor predisposes people to macular degeneration, these studies also note that aging and smoking are the only risk factors consistently associated with AMD.
Do My Relatives Have AMD?
If any of your relatives have developed macular degeneration, you are at a greater risk.
Do I Spend Long Hours in the Sun without Eye Protection?
Prolonged sun exposure increases your risk for AMD.
Is My Diet Not Ideal?
If your diet is high in sugar and unhealthy fats while being low on good fats, antioxidants, and leafy greens, you have an increased risk of AMD.
Am I Obese?
A review of studies by the National Eye Institute found that obese people have an increased chance of developing AMD.
Do I Have High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure can starve the eye of the vital nutrients it needs to help protect against AMD.
What if I Already Have AMD in One Eye?
Although the condition might only affect one eye at first, the other eye is likely to follow.
Helping You Protect Your Eyesight
There is currently no definitive cure for macular degeneration. However, EyeMDs can employ various proven treatment and rehabilitation approaches to slow or even stop the progression of the disorder, working in coordination with our colleagues specializing in retinal disease. Advanced treatment options, including participation in clinical trials, can be recommended, depending on the severity of your condition. Get in touch with Pomerance Eye Center today to schedule an appointment with our team and learn more about this condition.