Vision dimming in the center of the eye, dark spots in the vision, or blurry vision are all signs of a serious eye condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This is the leading cause of blindness in adults aged 55 and older. In order to raise awareness of the dangers of potential vision loss, the National Eye Institute has made February age-related macular degeneration awareness month. At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates of Denver, CO, we offer comprehensive testing to watch for the early signs of AMD that can appear as you age.
What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a breakdown of the macula—the center of the retina—in the back of the eye. The retina takes in light and turns it into electrical signals. It is responsible for the center of your vision and is crucial for things like driving, reading, handiwork, and viewing television.
How common is macular degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration affects 11 million Americans and is the leading cause of blindness. It can affect one or both eyes and starts with no noticeable symptoms. That is why having a regular dilated eye exam is so important.
What are the two kinds of AMD?
There are two kinds of age-related macular degeneration: dry or wet.
- Dry AMD is the first kind that occurs. It is the most common form and is comprised of 80% of AMD patients. Dry AMD shows few symptoms at first, but slowly the central vision becomes blurred, dimmed and then is lost. There is no treatment for early dry AMD but a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, plenty of exercise and quitting smoking can help.
- Wet AMD is much less common than dry, but it is much more serious. Wet AMD occurs when blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid into the macula, damaging it.
What are the risk factors?
You may be at higher risk for AMD if you:
- Are Caucasian
- Are aged 55 or older
- Are a smoker
- Have a family history of AMD
- Eat a diet high in saturated fats
- Have high blood pressure
- Have heart disease
- Are obese
While there are no treatments for early dry AMD, it is important to have your ophthalmologist regularly tracking the degeneration. Diet, exercise, supplements and lifestyle changes may be suggested. High blood pressure needs to be managed by your primary care physician.
In treating wet AMD, your ophthalmologist may recommend drugs that can be injected into the eye or laser treatments. Treatments will not help you regain any lost vision but may help slow the progression of the disease.
Emergency Eye Symptoms
If you are experiencing any kind of fuzzy or blurry vision, vision loss, eye pain or nausea, come to Colorado Ophthalmology Associates right away.
Get an appointment today
The best approach to treating AMD is to catch it early and monitor it closely. If you are aged 55 or older, or if you have noticed any changes in your vision, call today for an appointment with a board-certified ophthalmologist at one of our two Colorado locations in Denver or Lakewood. We’re here to offer expert help with all of your vision needs.
Denver: 303-320-1777 Lakewood: 303-989-2023