Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease which occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the light-sensitive retina located on the inside back layer of the eye.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD. AMD causes loss of central vision that can occur in two forms: “dry” or atrophic and “wet” or exudative.
With “dry” macular degeneration, the tissue of the macula gradually becomes thin and stops functioning properly. There is no cure for dry AMD, and any loss in central vision cannot be restored.
Less common, “wet” macular degeneration results when fluids leak from newly formed blood vessels under the macula and blur central vision. Vision loss can be rapid and severe.
Caucasians are at higher risk for developing AMD than other races. Women also develop AMD at an earlier age than men. The following risk factors are associated with causing AMD to develop:
UV Light Exposure
Lack of Exercise
Macular Degeneration causes gradual loss of the ability to see. In its early stages, the following signs of macular degeneration can go unnoticed.
Inability to See Objects Clearly
Shape of Objects Appears Distorted
Straight Lines Appear Wavy or Crooked
Gradual Loss of Color Vision
Dark or Empty Area in the Center of Vision
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact Family Eye Care Center immediately for a comprehensive eye examination. Call: (304) 636-9111.
Macular Degeneration can be diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam at Family Eye Care Center. These tests will determine if one has macular degeneration or other eye health problems. Dr. Craig can also provide a simple take-home screening test called an AmLer Grid.
Central vision that is lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored. However, devices such as telescopic and microscopic lenses, can be prescribed to maximize existing vision.
Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, for which there is no treatment. The less common wet form may respond to laser procedures, if diagnosed and treated early.
While there is no specific treatment for Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), studies have shown a potential benefit from following a Mediterranean diet, nutritional supplements, protection from the ultraviolet light of the sun, and cessation of smoking.
Doctors now believe there is a link between nutrition and the progression of Dry AMD. Dietary changes favoring low-fat content and dark green leafy vegetables can slow vision loss. Nutritional and vitamin supplements may also be beneficial.
If detected early, “wet” Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) can be treated with laser treatment. This is often called photocoagulation. A highly focused beam of light seals the leaking blood vessels that damage the macula.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) uses a medication injected into the bloodstream, which is then activated with a laser shone into the eye.
A new therapy is now available which is showing favorable results when used in patients whose wet AMD has been detected early. This involves injecting anti-VEGF medications into the back of the eye.
These are not permanent cures but are used to slow the rate of central vision loss.
Good nutrition is vital to eye health. Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients such as lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin C, Omega 3 supplements and consumption of fatty fish, vitamin E, and zinc to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration. You can also take the following steps to avoid Macular Degeneration:
Wear UV Protective Glasses
Control Diabetes & Hypertension
Do Not Use Tobacco Products (cigarettes, cigars, vapes, etc.)
There’s no substitute for the quality of life good vision offers. Adding certain nutrients to a diet every day—either through foods or supplements—can help save a patient’s vision. In a large human clinical trial by researchers at the National Eye Institute, a specific combination of supplements was linked to slowing the progression of some forms of AMD.
The Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS1) by the National Eye Institute determined that Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a nutrition-responsive disorder. The follow-up AREDS2 study indicated significant benefit of the following supplement protocol in slowing the progression of Macular Degeneration.
Based on the AREDS Studies, those diagnosed with AMD may consider asking their trusted physician or licensed health care provider familiar with their comprehensive health and medical history if the following supplements are appropriate for them.:
500mg Vitamin C
400 IU Vitamin E
Omega 3* (dosage TBD)
Learn more about the supplements and how they work to slow AMD progression.
*Further studies are underway to determine recommended daily dosage of Omega 3. Consult your physician for advice.
IMPORTANT: Always talk to your doctor before you take any new medication, vitamin, or supplement. Be sure to tell them about the other medications, vitamins, and supplements you take. It is very important that you understand the risks and benefits involved.
Protect your eyesight with an exam today so you can pursue the best possible vision for life! Family Eye Care Center offers comprehensive dilated eye exams for patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration, as well as chronic eye-related disease management, treatment, and related services. Dr. Craig can diagnose AMD in its earliest stages – but first, you have to come in to the clinic. To learn more and schedule an appointment, call: (304) 636-9111.
Much of the educational information provided on this page has been adapted with permission from copyrighted resources provided courtesy of American Optometric Association (AOA) for use by its members. AOA is the leading authority on quality eye health and vision care, representing doctors of optometry and optometric professionals throughout the United States.
No information on this page, or any other part of this website, may be copied or shared in any manner without the prior written consent of the copyright holder(s). The copyright holder of the educational content on this page is American Optometric Association. The copyright holder of the content of this website is Family Eye Care Center – Elkins, West Virginia.