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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

We Can Help You Manage Your Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Who Can Get AMD?

As indicated by the name, age-related macular degeneration specifically affects those who are older. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in Canadians over 60 years of age.

What Are AMD Risk Factors?

Age is the largest risk factor for developing AMD. Others include:

    • Family history
    • Race – Caucasians have the highest risk
    • Smoking – Smoking increases the risk of developing AMD 400%.
    • Poor Nutrition
    • Lack of exercise
    • UV damage to the eyes
    • Vascular issues such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes
The Two Types of AMD

Patients with AMD can have one or both of the following types:

  • Dry Macular Degeneration (non-neovascular) – Dry AMD is identified by yellow deposits known as drusen forming in the macula. These drusen deposits continue to grow in mass and quantity, dimming and distorting the patient’s vision.
  • Wet Macular Degeneration (neovascular) – Wet AMD is the more advanced type of AMD and presents in the later stages of the disease. Wet AMD is distinguished by the formation of abnormal new blood vessels beneath the retina. These are weak and end up leaking blood and other fluids into the eye – distorting and blurring central vision.
Treating AMD

AMD is considered an incurable eye disease at this time. Research is ongoing in the quest for a cure. There are many treatment options designed to slow down or prevent the progression of this disease.   

Depending on your individual case, your Optometrist will prescribe special vitamin therapy aimed at increasing the circulation to the retina to slow down these aging changes, a special diet to help make the retina healthier and special UV protection to prevent any more damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays. As well, the Optometrist may give you a vision test to take home with you so you can monitor your vision at home for any subtle changes.

The type of AMD you have will dictate the treatment our eye doctor will prescribe to you.

Important Information About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

What Causes Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of our eye’s retina. The retina is located inside the back layer of our eye. The central portion of the retina is known as the macula. At this time, researchers do not conclusively know the direct factors that contribute to macular degeneration. Studies have linked the effects of our bodies natural ageing process to the deterioration of the macula.

Scientists continue to work towards understanding the cause of macular degeneration.

Can AMD be Prevented?

We recommend the following lifestyle changes to decrease your chances of developing AMD:

  • A healthier, more nutritious diet
  • Cessation of smoking
  • Exercise
  • Eyewear protection for UV light from the sun
  • Regular eye exams to monitor its progression

 

Next Steps

The Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Vision symptoms are often not noticeable in the early stages of AMD and the disease remains undetected by the patient. As AMD advances and enters the intermediate stage patients begin to experience vision impairments. These impairments may present as:

  • Distorted center of vision
  • Straight lines that appear wavy
  • Blurry, dark, or total white-out areas in the center of vision

Patients diagnosed with advanced stage AMD are likely to be experiencing complete central vision loss.

We recommend booking an eye exam with our Optometrist if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or simply have not had an eye exam in over two years.