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Age Related Macular Degeneration

Age Related Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is an eye condition that is quite common among older adults over the age of 50. It is one of the main causes of vision loss in adults of this age. In order to see objects clearly, you use your central vision but AMDD slowly diminished the macula which is why you begin seeing less and less as you get older. The rate of vision loss depends on how quickly AMD is advancing. Mostly, is goes very slowly so you don’t notice the lack of sharpness for a long time, while in others it is rapid and becomes obvious right away. When AMD advanced to vision loss, you will no longer be able to drive a motor vehicle, recognize faces or objects, read or write well, or do detail work like sewing. While it blurs your vision significantly, it won’t blind you completely as you still have your peripheral vision.

Risk Factors

The most common risk factor for getting age-related macular degeneration is being over the age of 50. This is the age when people’s macula tends to start functioning at a lower rate and ultimately can lead to AMD and vision loss. However there are some other risk factors association with this condition including a history of smoking tobacco, being Caucasian (statistically speaking), and having a family history of AMD. While it is not known if healthy lifestyle changes can prevent the development of AMD, it is always recommended that older adults not smoke, get plenty of exercise, have normal blood pressure and cholesterol, and eat a healthy diet.

Diagnosing Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Many times someone doesn’t know they have AMD until it progresses far enough to begin having significant vision loss. Suddenly blurry vision or not seeing people or objects clearly is a warning sign of AMD. To diagnose age-related macular degeneration, a variety of tests are performed. This includes a visual acuity test which measures your sight form a distance, a dilated eye exam that lets the doctor view the back of your eye to find signs of the AMD on your optic nerve, a fluorescein angiogram that finds out if you have leaking blood vessels and an amsler grid test which looks for signs of degenerating central vision.

Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

There are two main forms of AMD, dry and wet. Each form has a varying degree of symptoms and treatments though both can cause vision loss. Dry AMD is the more common form of the condition and includes three stages; early, intermediate and advanced. This occurs when your macula starts to break down causing gradual blurring of your vision. Wet AMD is rarer and also more advanced. IT can cause severe vision loss and is caused when your eye’s blood vessels leak blood and fluid under the macula. The damage happens quickly and thus your vision blurs quicker as well.
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