The gift of vision is often unappreciated until one begins to lose it. Indeed there are many Americans who find it difficult to focus on near and/or distant objects due to particular eye ailments or progressive conditions. While the formation of cataracts may be easily corrected with the aid of surgery, another severe age-related condition cannot be reversed at all. Known as Macular Degeneration, you will find it difficult to view objects that are placed directly in front of you. In other words, you tend to lose vision in the central part of the retina owing to the deterioration of retinal cells. The side vision or peripheral vision remains unchanged, however.
It is advisable to visit an ophthalmologist regularly once you attain the age of 40 or more. Sure, this age-related condition often termed AMD may not affect you at all. But it is essential to be aware of it and take proper steps as a precaution once you advance in years. It is sad to learn that almost 1.5 million Americans are afflicted with AMD each year. You must, therefore, be prepared to take the right measures to prevent premature deterioration of visual acuity and eventual blindness.
Macular Degeneration: What Is It?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the central portion of the retina causing visual difficulty. In the earliest stage, the condition results in the deposition of degenerative proteins and lipids to be deposited underneath the retina. This will cause the retinal cells to break down. The early stage is often referred to as the dry AMD. However, it may advance to wet AMD with numerous blood vessels developing in the retina. These vessels rupture spontaneously causing the blood to leak and fill the retina. The normal retinal cells are dislodged from their normal position resulting in further deterioration of your vision.
Risks Of Developing AMD
There are several contributing factors responsible for developing AMD. You should become cautious and contact your ophthalmologist when experiencing visual problems that may be caused due to any or several of the following:-
- Genetics– You may develop AMD if any of your parents or grandparents were diagnosed with it
- Smoking– It helps to quit smoking immediately as a history of smoking for a long time increases the risk of AMD
- Eye Ailment(s)- You have an increased risk of developing AMD when you are farsighted and have been born with light-colored eyes
- Gender– AMD is more common in females in comparison to males
- Race– Caucasians are at an increased risk for developing AMD
- UV Exposure– Being exposed to intense sunlight and ultraviolet rays increases the risk considerably
- Health Conditions– It is advisable to keep your blood pressure and cardiovascular conditions under control. Obesity may be a contributing factor as well. Remember to maintain optimum weight, therefore.
Unfortunately, Macular Degeneration (AMD) has no cure yet. However, there are many ways to slow its progression or prevent its occurrence. Having your eyes examined regularly by a qualified ophthalmologist is helpful. The “American Academy of Ophthalmology” recommends taking nutritional supplements and following a healthy lifestyle to prevent developing AMD after the age of 50.