February is Macular Degeneration Awareness Month. Here are some basic facts about Macular Degeneration for your consideration!
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a disease that damages your retina. ARMD is the leading cause of permanent central vision loss in people 65 and older in developed countries. As the name suggests, ARMD increases with age. About 30% of those older than 75 have ARMD. Age-related macular degeneration usually doesn’t affect your peripheral vision. There are two types:
The most common is dry age-related macular degeneration. People with ARMD have the dry type and make up about 80-90 percent of individuals who have it. Dry ARMD has fatty yellow deposits called drusen that develop under the retina, causing the macula to become thinner and begin to lose function. If you have dry ARMD, you may see a dark, blurry spot, or a blank spot in the center of your vision. Vision loss due to dry ARMD is usually slow and gradual.
You should be under the care of an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) if you are diagnosed with either form of ARMD. Dry ARMD can progress to wet ARMD, which can cause rapid and more extensive damage and vision loss.
If you have dry ARMD, you should monitor your central vision by using a special chart called an “Amsler grid.” If any part of the grid appears wavy, blurry, or dark—or if your vision is suddenly distorted—you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately. These changes could be a sign that you have developed wet ARMD.
Wet ARMD affects 10-20 percent of people. This type of macular degeneration occurs with two change. First is that fatty yellow deposits called drusen accumulate under the retina and the second is abnormal blood vessels begin to grow under the retina. These abnormal blood vessels often begin to leak, causing damage to the retina. Wet ARMD can cause rapid and severe vision loss and central visual blindness. Early diagnosis is extremely important in order to determine whether treatment can prevent irreversible loss of vision.
Annual Eye Exams
At Advanced Eyecare Optometry, we offer comprehensive Eye Examinations, have a Fashion Eyewear Boutique, fit all Contact Lenses, perform LASIK evaluations, and provide Vision Training. Getting your vision checked regularly can help catch eye disease early and provides the best chance of saving sight.
For more helpful eye care and vision care tips, please visit our main blog page.