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What is Age- Related Macular Degeneration?

Age- Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease which affects the central vision. It occurs when aging causes damage to the macula. The macula is the part of the eye that controls sharp, straight ahead vision. Individuals with this condition have issues seeing things directly in front of them. This can make everyday tasks like cooking, house work, reading, driving and even seeing faces quite difficult. According to the CDC, Age-Related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness for Americans aged 65 and older. February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month.


Types


There are two types of AMD; wet and dry. Dry AMD is more common and occurs in three stages: early, intermediate, and late. It slowly progresses overtime. There is no treatment for late stage AMD, however, if it occurs in one eye, there are ways to protect your other eye.

Wet AMD is less common and progresses faster. Any stage of dry AMD can turn into wet AMD. There are treatments available for wet AMD.


Symptoms


Symptoms of AMD vary depending on the stage. Early dry AMD shows no symptoms. Some people still show no symptoms with intermediate AMD, however, others may experience mild blurriness in their central vision and difficulty seeing in low lighting. In late AMD, wet or dry, people may notice straight lines appearing wavy or crooked. They may also notice a blurry area near the center of vision. Colors may seem less bright and there may also be issues seeing in low lighting.


Risk Factors                  

               

The risk of AMD increases with age. Other risk factors include having a family history, if you are Caucasian, and are a smoker. There are treatments for AMD, depending on the stage and type.

 



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