February is Age-related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in America, yet most patients are unaware they suffer from the disease until noticeable vision loss has already occurred.
What is AMD?
The macula, central part of the retina, is responsible for the fine details we see. Reading, facial recognition, sewing, driving etc. rely on a healthy macula to transmit clear detailed images to our brain. As we age the macula can begin to deteriorate, sending progressively less clear images. In its early stages, most people don't experience noticeable vision loss, but a comprehensive eye examination by your optometrists here at Sites Vision Clinic can detect the tell-tale presence of drusen beneath your retina.
In its intermediate stage, the patient may detect changes in visual acuity and in the late stage of AMD, your vision loss is very noticeable- nearly impossible reading, inability to drive; the failure of any task that requires you to see clear images.
What are the risk factors for AMD?
- Age - Risk increases as we age. AMD is most likely to occur in people 55 or older; one in three people over age 80 have some form of the disease
- Smoking - If you smoke you are doubling your risk of developing AMD
- Genetics -You are at higher risk if you have a family history of AMD
Signs and Symptoms of AMD
Vision loss from age-related macular degeneration is usually gradual and painless. Early signs that you may be losing vision due to AMD are:
- A dark or blind spot in the center of your vision field
- Rippled appearance to what should appear as a straight line (ie; the print on a page)
- Shadowy or distorted vision
Schedule an Appointment with our Clarksville or Elkton Optometrists
There is currently no cure for AMD, but there are many treatment options available, especially in its early stages. Schedule a comprehensive eye examination with your optometrist in Clarksville and Elkton. Sites Vision Clinic is your first step towards maintaining your eye health.