As many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of age-related macular degeneration, which is one of the leading causes for vision loss and blindness in the United States. What is even more frightening is that this number is expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050. The reason may be that people with very common health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or even simply just people who are aging don’t realize they are at heightened risk for AMD and miss the warning signs. The good news is that those in the know, and who seek help early, can lower the risk and even stop AMD from progressing to vision loss or blindness.
- AMD is a deterioration of the retina and the most advanced form of AMD is associated with the development of abnormal vessels effecting the retina and leading to a substantial loss of central vision (typically blurred and distorted).
- AMD symptoms include: distortion of straight lines, loss of central vision or dark, blurry areas in the center of vision.
- A family history of AMD, aging and smoking increase the risk of AMD.iii
- People at greater risk for AMD can benefit from regular eye exams that include dilation of pupils and seeking help from a retina specialist if any AMD symptoms are present.
- While AMD led to legal blindness for past generations, today’s treatments, when delivered early, can preserve vision for almost all patients with the advanced form of AMD, called wet AMD.
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