Have you heard of macular degeneration? February is age-related macular degeneration (AMD) month. As your vision care specialists, Clarendon Vision wanted to share some insights and options for you if you or a loved one is dealing with AMD.
First, let’s get some of the terminology out of the way. The macula is an area of your eye. The macula is located on the retina. It’s the part of your eye that gives you clear, sharp, central vision. The macula is what lets you clearly see things that are straight ahead. It’s a pretty important part of your visual system. Much of your brain’s visual processing centers deal with information from the macula.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) primarily impacts people over 50. It is one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over 50. A common symptom of age-related macular degeneration is blurred or blank areas in the center of vision. While AMD doesn’t typically cause complete vision loss, central vision is essential to many everyday activities like reading, driving, recognizing faces, and doing close work like cooking or home maintenance. Blurred or blank spots in central vision can make it difficult for someone to clearly see children or grandchildren’s faces, recognize friends in the grocery store, read a book, or drive a car.
While normal aging means everyone can eventually be at risk for AMD, some additional risk factors include smoking, which doubles one’s risk for AMD, race (it is more common in Caucasian people, less common in African-American and Latino people,) and family history.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Finding a path toward smoking cessation is one important component. Eating a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish is another. As with many age-related conditions, getting enough exercise and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol within normal ranges is recommended. And because there are great treatment options for those with age related macular degeneration particularly if it’s discovered early enough, a regular annual comprehensive eye exam is a must.
One supplement that has been found to be particularly helpful for combatting AMD is a combination of vitamins specifically designed to support vision. Current research indicates this vitamin combination can slow the progression of AMD. We carry the brand Nordic Naturals at Clarendon Vision and recommend the Omega Vision supplement for patients who are at risk of AMD as well as those in treatment for AMD. We want everyone to be able to enjoy life to the fullest.
Be sure to schedule your comprehensive eye exam and talk to Dr. Spokas about any concerns you have for AMD. We look forward to seeing you in the office soon!