If you are over 65 and you are noticing that your vision is decreasing, you may be affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This is a progressive, chronic eye disease that causes significant visual changes by affecting the center of the retina, the macula, and therefore the center of the visual field and the vision of details, both near and far.
As the proportion of people age 65 and older in the USA and in other developed countries grows larger, AMD is being considered the leading cause of legal blindness and low vision with statistics estimating that more than 6 million Americans will develop this condition by 2030.
With this in mind, the American Academy of Ophthalmology puts all its attention on this disease, declaring February as the AMD Awareness Month, reminding people of the importance of routine screening for early detection and effective treatment.
This is considered a chronic disease of multifactorial origin where age is the main risk factor, but that, as in many chronic diseases that affect adults, there are a series of genetic factors, which influence its development, as well as other elements of environmental sources, such as tobacco, high blood pressure, direct and prolonged exposure to the sun, bad eating habits, and circulatory problems.
If left unaddressed, AMD can progress from a state of blurred vision to a complete loss of central vision and even legal blindness in advanced cases. For this reason, and because there is currently no cure, it is so important to detect it early in order to implement the necessary therapeutic measures to slow down the course of the disease, which include:
- Administration of intraocular anti-angiogenic drugs to stop the formation of new blood vessels and control abnormal vessels.
- Application of photodynamic laser therapy to destroy abnormal blood cells.
- Consumption of dietary supplements that contain many nutritional elements, especially vitamins A, C, D, and E, minerals like zinc and copper, among other factors such as omega-3 fatty acids.
- Use of visual aids like electronic glasses and magnifying glasses to make day-to-day life easier.
Although the number of cases will increase in the coming years, organizations like the American Academy of Ophthalmology are focused on remembering the importance of the above-mentioned measures to stop the advance of the disease.
Here at Harvard Eye Associates, we are actively involved in AMD clinical trials and as research continues to evolve, we will continue to keep you up to date with the latest technologically advanced treatments.