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How Age-Related Macular Degeneration Distorts Your Vision



How Age-Related Macular Degeneration Distorts Your Vision

How age-related macular degeneration distorts your vision
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of visual impairment and irreversible vision loss in the United States.
Macular degeneration reduces vision in the central part of the retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD you lose your central vision and cannot see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far. But your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal. For instance, imagine you are looking at a clock with hands. With AMD, you might see the clock's numbers but not the hands. People with AMD may have difficulty with daily tasks that require fine vision such as reading, dialing a telephone, driving, and recognizing faces.
Risk factors for AMD
You are more likely to develop AMD if you:
  • eat a diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
  • are overweight
  • smoke cigarettes
  • are over 50 years old
  • have hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • have a family history of AMD
Heart disease is another risk factor for AMD. High cholesterol levels and Caucasians also have an increased chance of getting AMD.
Two kinds of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Dry Macular Degeneration
The more common form of AMD. Roughly 8 out of 10 people have this form of AMD. With Dry AMD, parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein grow. When this happens, you slowly lose central vision. There is no treatment for dry AMD yet.

Wet Macular Degeneration

The more serious, but less common form of AMD is Wet AMD. This is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. Fluids such as blood may leak with Wet AMD and cause scarring of the macula. When this happens, you lose vision faster than with the Dry form of the disease.
Many people don't realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits to screen your eye health for this and other issues that can come with age.

Remember to also talk about and encourage family members and friends to get their eyes examined regularly for both forms of age-related macular degeneration. See the link below to view a video that explains the condition in further detail.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of AMD
In its early stages, the following signs of macular degeneration can go unnoticed.
  • Gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly.
  • Shape of objects appears distorted.
  • Straight lines look wavy or crooked.
  • Loss of clear color vision.
  • A dark or empty area in the center of vision.
If you experience any of the above signs or symptoms, contact our offices immediately for a comprehensive eye examination. Your team at Joseph & Swan Eye Center will perform a variety of tests to determine if you have macular degeneration or any other eye health problems.
Treatment of AMD
Although there is no treatment for dry AMD yet, researchers and doctors believe there is a link between nutrition and the progression of dry AMD. Making dietary changes and taking nutritional supplements can slow vision loss. If detected early, wet AMD can be treated with intraocular injections of anti-VEGF medications.
Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration. For more information on the importance of good nutrition and eye health, please see the diet and nutrition section.

If you have any of the risk factors, including history or age, make sure you schedule your annual eye examination. Get checked regularly and be aware of the early signs of Macular Degeneration. Let our staff at Joseph & Swan take care of all of your eye needs. To schedule an appointment, you can call our offices at (337) 981-6430 or visit us online for more information at