Here is something that you probably did not know: age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in men and women over the age of 60 in the United States. Don’t worry, though. You are not alone. An independent survey conducted by Wakefield Research at the request of CentraSight for AMD Awareness Month found that 74 percent of Americans were unaware of this fact. The most common incorrect answer from the 1,014 participants in the survey was “glaucoma.”
Age-related macular degeneration destroys a person’s sharp, central vision, which is needed to see objects clearly and to do things like reading and driving. There are two kinds of AMD: dry or wet. The more common of the two types of AMD is dry and the earliest sign is usually blurred vision. As fewer cells in the macula are able to function, people will see details, like words in a book, less clearly in front of them. For wet AMD, the classic early symptom is that straight lines appear crooked. This results when fluid from the leaking blood vessels gathers and lifts the macula and distorts the vision.
Interestingly, the survey found that 35 percent of the participants who knew someone with AMD assisted them frequently, and 68 percent of the participants said that they were somewhat or not confident in their ability to provide care for a family member that might develop AMD.
It is expected that AMD diagnoses will rise in the coming years. Projections show that by 2020, there will be 20 million Americans with AMD. This is based on the survey’s findings that 43 percent of Americans today, age 65 and older, have or know someone who has AMD.
Because there is no cure for AMD, the best thing that you can do is to try to prevent developing the disease. White females are especially at risk. Family history plays a significant role, so talk to your family members to see if AMD runs in your family. Certain nutrients, including zinc, lutein, and vitamins A, C, and E seem to lower the risk of AMD and slow down its progression. Smoking is also a factor in AMD development, so one lifestyle choice that you can make is to stop smoking.
If you would like more information about AMD diagnosis, progression and treatment, visit AMDAffectsMe.com. This website was designed to educate patients and their loved ones and includes stories about care giving and tips from doctors to care givers (Source: Healio).