February is Age Related Macular Degeneration awareness month.

February 6, 2018

 

February is Age Related Macular Degeneration or AMD/ARMD awareness month.  AMD is a silent killer to your vision but there are things you can do to slow the progression of this disease.  AMD or Age Related Macular Degeneration happens when your macula begins to deteriorate.  AMD comes in two forms dry and wet. 

 

 

Dry AMD is an early stage of the disease and may result from the aging and thinning of macular tissues.  Dry macular degeneration is diagnosed when yellowish spots called drusens begin to develop in and around the macula.  Dry macular degeneation causes a gradual loss of vision and is usually not as severe as wet AMD.  Currently, it appears the best way to protect your eyes from developing early dry macular degeneration is to eat a healthy diet, exercise and wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays. 

 

 

Wet AMD is when new blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells, which die off and create blind spots in central vision.  Wet AMD causes permanent vision loss and blindness.

 

Macular degeneration is caused by many factors including age, obesity, high blood pressure, genetics, smoking, light eye color, and side effects from certain drugs. Most of these factors are also heart health related and February is also Heart Health Month.  You can't change your eye color, age, or genetics but you can do a lot by changing your diet, exercising, and cutting out smoking. You can help your eyes and your heart at the same time.

 

Patients can protect their macula by taking an AREDS2 supplement.  AREDS2 supplements have a combination of omega 3's, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are compounds that can be found in your retina and lens, where they may act as natural antioxidants and help absorb damaging, high-energy blue and ultraviolet light.  Macuhealth is a great AREDS2 and can be purchased here.

 

Patients over the age of 60 should have an eye exam every year, wear sunglasses and also start taking an AREDS2 supplement.  Patients can also use an amsler-grid to detect slight changes in their vision.  You can find an amsler-grid here.  If you notice any wavy or blurred lines tell you eye doctor right away. 

 

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