Threat of AMD
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a disease associated with aging that affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail.
The macula is located in the center of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The retina instantly converts light, or an image, into electrical impulses. The retina then sends these impulses, or nerve signals, to the brain.
AMD destroys sharp, central vision. The loss of central vision impedes your ability to perform common tasks such as:
- Facial recognition
- Watching television
Vision loss dramatically reduces your quality of life, making AMD one of the most devastating and disabling conditions.
AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in adults over age 50. There are two types of age-related macular degeneration, dry AMD (non-neovascular) and wet AMD (neovascular). About 90% of significant vision loss and blindness is associated with wet AMD, specifically the development of choroidal neovascularization (CNV).
AMD Risk Factors
The greatest risk factor is age. Although AMD may occur during middle age, studies show that people over age 60 are clearly at greater risk than other age groups. For instance, a large study found that people in middle-age have about a 2% risk of getting AMD, but this risk increased to nearly 30% in those over age 75.
Other risk factors include:
- Family history. Those with immediate family members who have AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
- Race. Whites are more likely to lose vision from AMD than African Americans.
- Gender. Women appear to be at greater risk than men.
- Obesity. Research studies suggest a link between obesity and the progression of early and intermediate stage AMD to advanced AMD.
- Smoking. Smoking may increase the risk of AMD.
Your lifestyle can play a role in reducing your risk of developing AMD.
- Don't smoke.
- Eat a healthy diet high in green leafy vegetables and fish.
- Maintain normal blood pressure.
- Watch your weight.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
AMD & Nutrition - AREDS
The National Eye Institute has conducted two major studies called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS and AREDS2). The AREDS study found that taking high dose formulas of certain nutritional supplements may reduce risk of early stage AMD progression by 25 percent. Eye vitamins such as Ocuvite® (Bausch & Lomb), Preservision® (Bausch & Lomb), and ICaps® (Alcon) have specific formulas based upon AREDS.
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