What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive eye disease that leads to blindness without proper treatment. Currently, approximately 11 million people in the U.S. have an AMD diagnosis. Since age is the primary risk factor for developing the condition, it is estimated that this number will double by 2050. Knowing your risk factors and what to do if you receive a diagnosis helps you preserve your vision.

How Does AMD Affect Your Eyesight?

AMD is a disease that affects the macular part of your retina. As the condition begins to develop in your eye, you’ll experience the loss of your central vision. This can impact your ability to see the finer details of the center of an object or person in your field of view. For instance, you might be able to see a person’s hair but be unable to make out their facial features. Since the condition progresses quite slowly in some people, you might not realize that you are having vision loss until things become quite blurry. This is one of the many reasons why regular visits with an ophthalmologist are critical as you age.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Age might be the biggest risk factor for developing the condition, but it isn’t the only one. Your eye health is affected by lifestyle factors that impact the blood vessels, such as smoking or developing heart disease. People who are overweight, eat a diet that is high in saturated fat, or who have high blood pressure are more likely to develop AMD and experience a faster progression of their symptoms. If you have a family history of AMD, then you will also need to discuss the possibility of being at high risk for vision loss with your eye doctor. While you might not be able to completely eliminate your risk of developing AMD, making healthy lifestyle changes can help to slow down your vision loss and make it possible for the treatments to work better.

How Do You Treat AMD?

Wet AMD causes abnormal blood vessels to develop in your eyes that are prone to leaking. The lack of proper blood flow is what impacts your vision loss, and anti-VEGF treatment helps to reduce the leakage in your eyes. Brooklyn, NY eye specialists deliver anti-VEGF treatment through intravitreal injections, and this form of care has a success rate of stabilizing vision in nine out of 10 people who receive it. During this form of treatment, your eye doctor will use special numbing agents to prepare your eye for the injection. You can then go about your normal activities soon after you leave the office.

AMD is one part of aging that you don’t have to accept without putting up an effort to preserve your vision. With quality care, your doctor can help you to stop the progressive symptoms that rob you of the opportunity to see your family’s faces and enjoy your favorite activities. Since catching the disease early is essential for your prognosis, make sure to ask for testing during your next eye exam.