Damage to your macula may happen over time, a condition known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition can cause blurry central vision, making it hard to see things in front of you. Since February is AMD Awareness Month, Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry, your leading provider of high-quality eye care services, shares four important facts about this disease.
Age Is Not the Only Factor That Contributes to AMD Development
While getting older is a major risk factor of AMD, there are other things that may contribute to its development. Studies show that smokers are up to four times more likely to have this condition than non-smokers. Having an unhealthy and inactive lifestyle, and a family history of this condition may also predispose you to this disease.
AMD Is Classified Into Two Types
Your optometrist explains that AMD may either be wet or dry. The former happens when your macula receives a limited supply of oxygen and nutrients. To compensate, your eyes grow new blood vessels. Their fragile nature, however, causes them to easily rupture, which causes blood and fluids to accumulate under the macula. While less common, this type is often associated with sudden blindness.
On the other hand, around 90% of reported AMD cases are classified as dry. Dry AMD happens when your macula’s cells and tissue layers gradually break down. They may produce yellowish waste deposits, also referred to as drusen, that may build up in your eyes.
There’s No Proven Cure for AMD – Yet
Currently, no proven cure has been found for AMD. There are ways, however, to prevent it from causing blindness. For one, we may administer medication to stop new blood vessels from growing. We may also perform surgeries to seal off any leaks and stop them from causing your macula to swell.
AMD May Not Show Symptoms and May Cause Irreversible Vision Loss
Since AMD is sight threatening and asymptomatic, this poses two major reasons you should watch out for this problem. It’s actually a leading cause of blindness worldwide. This is why it’s important to undergo a comprehensive eye exam regularly. Eating right and exercising regularly can also help reduce your risk.
For more information about AMD, call us at one of our locations, or complete our form. We see patients in Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and Reston.