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As you get older, your eyes become more susceptible to certain vision conditions. Glaucoma, cataracts, and eye floaters are some of the typical vision disorders found in elderly patients, but one of the most common vision problems is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is a slow-developing eye condition that causes you to develop a blurry spot in the center of your vision in one or both of your eyes.

AMD is the result of the macula — a spot in your eye loaded with millions of light-sensitive cells — becoming damaged. Unfortunately, once you develop AMD, it cannot be treated. Some cases of AMD have led to blindness, but most of the time, you just have to learn how to live with the condition. You may lose the ability to drive, read, or write.

KNOW WHAT CAUSES AMD

Age-related macular degeneration may be ultimately unavoidable for some because it can be caused by genetics. Caucasians are the most vulnerable to developing AMD. Smoking is linked to AMD, listed as an agent the doubles your risk for the disorder. If you’re a smoker, you should consider quitting in order to reduce your chances of getting AMD, especially if you have a family history of the disorder.

TAKING STEPS TO PREVENT AMD

Since it can be a genetic problem, AMD may develop regardless of your lifestyle or habits. You can still take some steps that may help keep it from developing or at least slow it down:

  • Exercise. Exercising regularly can keep your body healthy, which helps fight against age-related macular degeneration.
  • Get the right nutrients. Consume dark green vegetables and fish so your body can get a healthy amount of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc.
  • Keep your heart healthy. Avoid foods and activities that raise your cholesterol and blood pressure as these can increase your risk for AMD.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE AMD?

The main symptom of AMD is the blurry spot in the middle of your field of vision. The disorder can slowly progress over a long period of time, so you may not know you have it until the symptoms are severe. This is why it’s important to regularly have your eyes checked by an optometrist. Your eye doctor will most likely perform an examination by dilating your eye and looking at it through magnifying tools, and asking you to read some charts with letters and graphs from a specific distance. Some other procedures, like Fluorescein angiography, may be performed to reveal the problem if it is too difficult for your optometrist to observe from dilation or routine checkup.

LIVING WITH AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION

No known treatment has been developed to reverse the effects of AMD. If you catch signs of it early, you can learn how to slow its progression or even halt it in place. If the symptoms aren’t noticeable or barely noticeable, you may still be able to perform daily tasks without any problem related to AMD.

You are at greater risk for AMD if you are over 50 years old. Do you need an examination to see if you have AMD or another vision problem? Call Silverstein Eye Centers today to make an appointment for an eye exam.

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