Did you know...some 4.2 Americans 40 years of age and older are currently visually impaired, and that number is expected to reach a staggering 7.2 million by the year 2030?
Here’s a look at what constitutes low vision and how you can spot and treat AMD for the best possible outcome.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
As the leading cause of vision loss, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a serious issue affecting millions. It’s a slow-developing problem that gradually destroys the macula, the area at the back of the retina that helps control sharp, central vision. As the macula degenerates, you lose your ability to do everyday tasks ranging from reading to watching television to seeing and recognizing the faces of those you love.
Obviously, the natural aging process plays a big role in who might develop AMD, but you may also be at risk if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, as well as if you’re overweight or if you smoke, and there could be genetic factors at play as well.
As age-related macular degeneration progresses, you may notice:
- Newly blurry or fuzzy vision
- Lines that should be straight appear wavy or otherwise distorted
- Printed text is blurry
- Increased difficulty seeing in low-light situations
- Glare sensitivity
Diagnosing and Treating AMD
If you’re experiencing low vision problems or think you may have AMD, it’s important that you make an appointment with your eye care provider as soon as possible. Your eye doctor will likely recommend any or all of the following: distance and vision acuity tests, a dilation exam to observe the macula, and the cutting-edge optomap®.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for age-related macular degeneration, but there are some ways to manage the condition. Depending on the type of AMD you have and the symptoms you’re experiencing, your eye doctor may recommend prescription medications, laser therapy, vitamin supplementation, or surgical intervention. Low-vision aids can also help you become accustomed to living with AMD.
Stay on top of your eye health with regular checkups at Illinois Eye Center. Call (309) 243-2400 today to schedule your next appointment.