Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide.
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe visual loss in one or both eyes in patients over 50 in the United States. In 2010 2.1 million Americans had AMD and this number could double by 2050.
There are two principle forms of age related macular degeneration, the wet form (neovascular) and the dry (non-neovascular) form.
Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration
The dry form of AMD usually develops from the loss of macular melanin granules and the formation of lipofuscin granules.
The macular layers accumulate macular deposits (drusen). As these transformations happen a reduction of the vision producing structures (photoreceptors) leads to vision loss.
Dry AMD typically is slow to develop.
Wet Age Related Macular Degeneration
The wet form of AMD occurs when new blood vessels grow toward the macula. These vessels are very brittle seeping blood and fluid under the macula.
Wet AMD results in loss of vision in a short period of time.
The incidence of the dry form of AMD is 85%–90% vs. 10%–15% of wet AMD.
Causes of AMD
The precise cause of age related macular degeneration is unknown but a principal risk factor is longevity. Other risk factors for AMD include cigarette smoking, high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Patients with lightly colored pupils, females, and those with positive family histories are also at risk.
Tips for Patients with Age Related Macular Degeneration
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has five “eye-loving” tips for your eyes that could benefit a patient with AMD.
- Get a dilated eye exam. Patients over 65 should have an exam annually, even if there are no apparent eye problems.
- Stop smoking. Studies determined smokers are twice as more likely to develop macular degeneration than nonsmokers.
- Omega-3 fatty acid rich and low cholesterol and saturated fat diet. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fish) reduced the risk of AMD.
- Regular exercise can benefit your eyes. One study concluded exercising three times a week had a 70% reduction in the incidence of wet AMD over 15 years.
- Politely ask family members if there is a history of AMD. The earlier AMD risk factors are assessed, the better chances AMD can be properly evaluated and monitored.
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