February Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month

Healthy Food for Healthy Eyes

Did you know that for people over the age of 65, one in five of them will eventually be diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration? That’s a scary number!

That’s a big part of why February is AMD awareness month. Keep reading to learn more about this vision condition!

What is AMD?

AMD is what happens the macula (part of the eye) begins deteriorating. You need the macula to properly send nerve signals to the brain. If this process gets disrupted, your sight suffers.

If you have AMD, arteries responsible for keeping the macula working start hardening. Because the arteries harden, tissues in the retina begin breaking down. Over time, these tissues then die.

If your macula isn’t being properly supported by the arteries, vision loss occurs. You may notice that your central vision is no longer as crisp or clear as it once was.

There are two kinds of AMD to be aware of

Although there are two kinds of AMD, only one of them is common. The two kinds are wet and dry. The most common kind of age-related macular degeneration is the dry kind.

Wet AMD develops when the eye starts creating new blood vessels. These are supposed to replace the old blood vessels in the retina, but they are too weak. These weaker blood vessels are harmful because they leak fluid and blood into the retina.

If you have wet AMD and experience visual deformities, it’s because of the leaking vessels. Besides the vessels leaking, they also leave permanent scar tissue on the retina. A common symptom of wet AMD is dark spots on your vision. These appear because of the retina’s scar tissue.

With dry AMD, there are no leaking blood vessels to worry about. Like the name suggests, the damage that forms is dry. With dry AMD, particles called drusen begin developing.

Although this can take place over a matter of years, beware! Drusen is what leads to the breakdown of the macula and retina. If dry AMD isn’t diagnosed in time, it could eventually become wet AMD.

Who is at risk for getting AMD?

The only way to know if you have AMD is to have a comprehensive eye exam. People at risk of AMD include:
-being over the age of 50
-having a direct family member who has age-related macular degeneration
-being unhealthy and not exercising, eating poorly, and suffering from high blood pressure

Want to stay ahead of age-related degeneration? Make regular visits to your eye doctor! These eye exams help your eye doctor keep an eye on the health of your eyes.

If there is a problem, regular exams can keep you one step ahead.

Reducing your risks of developing AMD

Like other eye conditions, there is no way to guarantee you’ll never develop AMD. So what can you do? The easiest thing to do is be as healthy as possible!

This means exercising regularly, eating healthy, and making smart choices. Most doctors recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

It’s pertinent that you get your heart rate up. Yes, this means sweating! Being healthy, inside and out, means you’re less likely to develop AMD. And more than that: being healthy usually means you’re happier too!

Worried about AMD? Schedule an eye exam at Mid Ohio Eye Physicians and Surgeons in Columbus, Ohio today!