Macular degeneration, often called AMD or ARMD, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among Americans who are age 65 and older. With many baby boomers coming closer to that age range, vision loss from macular degeneration is becoming a growing problem.
AMD is caused when the retina (which is responsible for the sharp, central vision needed to read or drive) starts to degenerate. Currently, about 1.75 million U.S. residents currently have advanced age-related macular degeneration with associated vision loss. That number is expected to rise to 3 million by 2020.
Just like a lot of other diseases, macular degeneration is associated with aging. It can though also have a genetic component to it. Symptoms include slow, painless loss of vision. In rare cases vision loss can be sudden. Early signs of vision loss from AMD include shadowy areas in your central vision or unusually fuzzy or distorted vision.
Besides affecting older populations, AMD occurs in whites and females in particular. Smoking is also high on the list of risk factors for macular degeneration. Additional risk factors include having a family member with AMD, high blood pressure, lighter eye color and obesity.
As of yet there is no outright cure for age-related macular degeneration, but some treatments may delay its progression or even improve vision. Definitely consult with a doctor as soon as possible if you’re experiencing of these symptoms.
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