How to Fight Age-Related Macular Degeneration
About the Disease
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that causes the loss of central vision. It is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans.
AMD causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for seeing objects that are straight ahead. The macula helps us with activities such as reading, driving, and threading a needle.
AMD is a disease near to my heart because my grandmother had this disease. My grandmother was considered legally blind from the disease in her mid-60’s. The last years of her life were particularly difficult for her because her vision was very weak. My dad bought her some vision impairment aids, things like a large magnifying glass for reading, a huge television remote control, and special lighting, but it wasn’t enough to allow her to live a normal life.
AMD is a hereditary disease, which means I have a higher chance of developing the disease. In fact, I am twice as likely to develop the disease as compared to those in the general population. Studies have shown that an estimated 15-20% of people with AMD have one or more first degree relatives who were also affected by the disease.
Other risk factors for AMD include:
- Age – those 55 or older are more at risk.
- Cigarette smoking – Studies have shown that smokers have twice the risk of developing AMD.
- Elevated blood pressure
- Dietary fat intake – A diet high in fats has shown to increase the chances of AMD.
- Sun exposure – Although there isn’t a definite link, some studies have shown that ultraviolet light exposure may damage the macula.
- Race – Caucasians are at greatest risk.
Preventing the Disease
The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), a non-profit organization, has provided funding for research on cures for blindness, specifically AMD, since 1971. In fact, the research of FFB has already made possible treatments to stop and in some cases even reverse retinal disease.
Although factors such age, race, and heredity are unavoidable, some of the risk factors above can be avoided! The best way to prevent the disease is through regular eye exams which can lead to early detection and diagnosis. Current research has led to some antioxidant supplementation which can slow the progression of AMD. Other treatments include Lucentis Injections, Eylea Injections, and a Vision Enhancing Implantable Telescope. There are also many emerging treatments currently in clinical trials.
To find out more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration, please download The Foundation Fighting Blindness completely free guide called “A Guide to Age-Related Macular Degeneration”. It can be found here – http://ffb.dbmcommunications.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/AMD_Packet_2017.pdf
You can also find more information about The Foundation Fighting Blindness on their website.