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understanding age-related macular degeneration


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of vision loss among adults aged 50 and older. It happens when the macula, a small spot in your retina that plays an important role in providing your central vision, deteriorates or sustains damage.

As we observe AMD Awareness Month this March, your eye doctor talks about things you need to know about this condition.

The Two Types of AMD

Dry AMD is the most common type. It’s characterized by the presence of yellow deposits in your macula referred to as drusen. These are believed to be cellular waste. While a few, small drusen may not affect your eyesight, you may notice some changes in your vision as they increase in size and number. The things you see in your field of vision may not be as sharp or as clear as they were before. You may even say that some of the objects seem distorted or the surroundings are dimmed even if they are not.

On the other hand, wet AMD is marked by the appearance of abnormal blood vessels underneath your retina. Although these blood vessels are “new”, they are weak. They easily rupture, causing blood and fluid to leak into the retina. As a result, you may see straight lines as wavy. You may also have blind spots and loss of central vision. This AMD form is often linked to sudden and total blindness as well.

Suggested Management

AMD has no proven cure right now. Nonetheless, there are treatment options available to stop its advancement. For one, you can start by eating eye-healthy foods, such as green leafy vegetables, carrots and deep-water fish. They contain nutrients that help maintain your eyesight.

It’s also important that you visit your eye doctor regularly. Since AMD may not show symptoms at the start, having your eyes checked can lead to the early detection and treatment of this condition. The earlier AMD is managed, the better chance we have of saving your vision.

For wet AMD, your eye care specialist may administer certain medications that stop abnormal blood vessels from growing. They also help control blood and fluid leaks into your retina. Laser surgery is another option to reduce the number of blood vessels and stop their leaking.

To learn more about AMD, call us at (847) 550-3524 for Lake Zurich or (847) 979-4601 for Libertyville. We serve Barrington and the surrounding areas.

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