February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, but new treatments have dramatically changed the course of this disease over the last 10 years, making AMD more manageable than ever before. Vision impairment including low vision affects millions of Americans, among them are many older adults. Vision impairment can make it hard to do things like reading, shopping, or cooking. And standard treatments like eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicines, and surgery can’t fix it completely.
During AMD Awareness Month in February, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding people with AMD that they can save their vision thanks to recent treatment advances, but early detection is a critical first step.
Take your left hand and cover your left eye, now make a fist with your right hand. Take your right fist and place it directly in front of your right eye. The only thing you should see is images in your periphery or side vision. Now imagine that this is how you are to function within the world. Age-Related Macular Degeneration is a disease that affects the retina in the back of the adult eye.
- The retina contains the cells that function by receiving visual information from the environment.
- The macula is in the center of the retina and contains the cells responsible for our central vision.
- Damage to the macula causes patients to see less in the center of their vision.
Risk factors for AMD include:
- Family history of AMD
- Aging – those over 60 years old
- Race – Caucasians have a higher rate of AMD
- Sex – females have a higher rate of AMD (may be because they live longer)
- Light colored eyes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol
- High sun exposure
- Poor diet – with low intake of anti-oxidants
The Vision Council states that one in 28 Americans age 40 and above have low vision. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, low vision refers to vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical treatments or conventional eyeglasses. AMD, and other eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa, can cause low vision.
This year we’re recognizing #LowVisionAwarenessMonth by shining a light on vision rehabilitation! Vision rehabilitation can really make a difference for people with vision impairment, especially low vision. Learn more from @NationalEyeInstitute: https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/outreach-campaigns-and-resources/vision-rehabilitation-resources
Disclaimer: Health experts suggest that you talk to your doctor before you start, change or modify your medications, lifestyle or current treatment regimen.