February is Age Related Macular Degeneration Month
AMD Awareness Raises Questions
Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, common questions
An estimated 10 million Americans show evidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a progressive eye condition that can destroy “straight-ahead” vision, according to Dr. Rowley and Dr. Blake.
“February is AMD Awareness Month and we encourage all people, especially those at higher risk for this disease, to familiarize themselves with the potential symptoms and need for regular eye examinations,” Dr. Rowley said. “To help people better understand this disease, we’ve answered a few frequently asked questions.”
Q: What is AMD and who is at risk?
A: AMD stands for age-related macular degeneration, a disease that breaks down the macula – the light-sensitive portion of the retina that allows you to see fine detail. It blurs the “straight-ahead” vision required for activities such as reading or driving. Risk factors for AMD include: smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and family history of AMD. Caucasians and females are more prone to AMD.
Q: What causes AMD and how can it be detected?
A: The causes of AMD are still unknown. One form of AMD (dry) may be caused by aging and thinning of the macular tissues, pigment deposits in the macula, or a combination of the two. The other form of AMD (wet), results when new blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes retinal cells to die and creates blind spots in central vision. Early-stage AMD can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes a visual acuity test and dilated eye exam. If AMD is detected, further tests may be required.
“While there is no cure for AMD, early detection and treatment can slow or minimize vision loss and, in some cases, even improve vision,” Dr. Blake said. “There are also devices that can help people suffering from AMD-related vision loss to achieve improvement in their functional vision for performing daily routines.”
Q: Can you detect AMD earlier?
A: There are new tests that can tell us if you are more at risk for developing AMD. AMD is responsible for helping with dark adaptation. Apple Valley Vision now offers a test that helps with detecting defects in this early on which can help us know up to 3 years earlier than structural changes would show up in the eye. Schedule your appointment now to see if you are are at risk. If you have any complaints of night blindness or struggling to see at night, you have a family history of AMD, or you are over 50 – you should be screened with a comprehensive eye examination by Dr. Rowley or Dr. Blake.
Dr. Rowley is the owner and practitioner of Apple Valley Vision located at 539 S 100 W in Payson, UT and is a member of Vision Source®.