According to the National Eye Institute, age-related macular degeneration
is a leading cause of vision loss for people aged 50 and older. For some
people, AMD progresses slowly, with vision loss not occurring for a period
of time. In other people, AMD progresses very quickly,
leading to vision loss in either one or both of the eyes.
What causes AMD?
The macula is a small spot located in the center of the retina in the back
of the eye. Made of millions of light-sensing cells, the macula is the
most sensitive portion of the retina, crucial for providing sharp, central
vision. If damage occurs to the macula, the retina will have difficulty
converting light into electrical signals to the brain, making it difficult
for the brain to translate everyday images.
What are the symptoms for AMD?
If the macula is damaged, someone’s center field of vision may begin
to appear blurry, dark, or distorted. Over time, this blurred area can
grow larger, leading someone to develop blank spots in his or her central
vision. He or she may also find that everyday objects no longer appear
as bright and sharp as they used to be. Even though AMD doesn’t
lead to complete blindness, it can interfere with daily activities, such
as distinguishing faces, reading, writing, or cooking.
What are the treatment options for AMD?
Currently, there is no treatment for
age-related macular degeneration, however there are ways for someone to reduce his or her risk. An ophthalmologist
can assess a patient’s risk of AMD by providing a comprehensive
dilated eye exam each year. This can also help determine whether or not
AMD is progressing. People who are at risk of AMD can lower their risk
by exercising, avoiding smoking, and eating nutritious foods such as green,
leafy vegetables and fish.
If you would like to learn more about risk factors for age-related eye
diseases, such as macular degeneration and cataracts, schedule a meeting
with Dr. Mark Hornfeld. Dr. Hornfeld is a
NYC ophthalmologist specializing in cataract surgery and glaucoma treatment. You can reach
our office by dialing (646) 502-4142.