Age Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a progressive disease that affects the central portion of your retina, leading to vision loss. It generally affects people over the age of 60. There are 2 form of AMD: dry and wet.
What causes AMD
Dry AMD - the more common form of the disease, which occurs when the macula thins and breaks down over time, leading to the loss of central vision. There is no cure for dry AMD, but the good news is that the progression of the disease can be slowed with certain lifestyle changes.
Wet AMD - the less common but more severe form of the disease. The wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina, leaking fluid and blood, causing scarring and rapid loss of vision. Wet AMD requires prompt treatment.
There is no known factor on what causes AMD. The condition develops as the eye ages. However, the risk of getting AMD increases with certain lifestyle habits and genetic factors.
Risk factors of AMD
- Age : AMD is more common in people over the age of 60, and the risk increases with age
- Genetics : People with a family history of AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease
- Smoking : Smokers are up to 4 times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers
- Obesity : Being overwight may increase the risk of AMD
- Sunlight exposure : Prolonged exposure to UV rays may increase the risk of AMD
Having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will develop AMD, however, the awareness of these risk factors can help you to address them, reducing your risk and preserving your vision as you age.
Symptoms of AMD
In the early stages, AMD may have no symptoms. When the disease progresses, the symptoms are:
- Distortion of straight lines
- Changes in colour perception
- Decreased ability to see in low light
- Dark, blurry areas in the centre of vision
- Gradual or sudden loss of central vision
AMD can be detected through a comprehensive eye examination that includes visual acuity and Amsler grid test.
It is important to get regular eye examination, especially when you age, and have risk factors of AMD. AMD can be detected early, and measures can be put in to prevent further vision loss.