The American Academy of Ophthalmology takes a special interest every month to observe a specific eye care issue to raise awareness. This is particularly important for eye problems that are harder to spot.
February is reserved for age-related macular degeneration awareness, or AMD for short. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the older population of U.S. residents, making it a very important issue to discuss.
But there is good news on the horizon. Managing AMD is now easier than ever before thanks to advances in technology over the last decade.
Although AMD currently has no cure, upcoming treatments look promising. Keep reading to learn why February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month!
What is AMD?
AMD affects the central part of the retina, the macula. The entire retina handles sensing light.
The macula contains the highest concentration of light-sensitive cells. With age, the macula can begin to naturally deteriorate.
When this happens, you can lose your central vision, making you rely on your peripheral vision. This can make simple tasks you may take for granted such as reading or even recognizing a face very difficult.
The Two Stages of AMD
AMD comes in two stages: dry and wet. The first stage is dry AMD, and it occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula begin to die.
This causes deposits of yellow debris called “drusen” to accumulate. Dry AMD typically does not have noticeable symptoms, but its progression can be slowed down with treatments.
Left untreated, dry AMD will eventually progress to wet AMD. It is aptly named because it begins when your body tries to form new blood vessels in the area to supply the degenerating tissue with nutrients.
These blood vessels are hastily formed and have a tendency to leak and bleed inside the eye. This causes rapid vision loss and often results in total blindness. Wet AMD is much less common than dry AMD. It makes up only about 10% of AMD cases.
Managing AMD and the Importance of Early Detection
While there is still no cure for AMD, a combination of medications and supplements can be used to slow the progression of the disease. Many people live with dry AMD and don’t notice a change in their eyesight.
But the lack of real symptoms is a double-edged sword. You’ll need to have dry AMD diagnosed by your eye doctor.
If you wait until you’ve experienced significant damage to your eyesight, it is likely too late. This is yet another example from a long list of reasons why frequent visits to the eye doctor are so important.
Problems such as AMD only get worse if you leave them untreated. Preventing or managing a problem is always more effective than trying to go back and fix it.
This is especially true when it comes to the health of your eyes. Concerned about age-related macular degeneration or other eye conditions?
Schedule an appointment at Eye Physicians & Surgeons of Arizona in Glendale, AZ, today! You only get one set of eyes, so make sure to keep yours in the best shape you can!