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What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
AMD occurs when a portion of the retina, called the macula, deteriorates over time and is damaged. The macula focuses our central vision, allowing us to see things clearly that are in the center of our vision. With AMD, however, the central vision is blurred and the peripheral vision is clear.
There are two types of AMD: wet and dry.
Wet AMD: This is caused by the unusual growth of blood vessels around the retina. These blood vessels can begin to leak fluid or blood, which interferes with how the retina functions and eventually damages vision. This condition is more common in people over 50 and there are several risk factors, such as family history, weight, heart health, and whether a person smokes or not.
Dry AMD: The cause of dry AMD is unknown, but researchers believe that it’s a combination of heredity, environmental factors, and of course, age. This type of AMD affects tissue in the macula, which slowly begins to deteriorate and affect vision. This type is also most common in people over 50 years of age and risk factors include smoking, weight, and cardiovascular health.
Like many age-related eye diseases, prevention is a matter of taking care of your overall health as well as monitoring eye health through regular eye exams. Patients can work to increase cardiovascular health and maintain a healthy blood pressure, avoid smoking, maintain a healthy weight, and be sure to eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
A regular eye exam is also an incredibly important part of preventing age-related eye diseases. Your optometrist will be able to effectively monitor your eye health and will have a baseline of information that future exams can be compared with. If changes in vision or eye health are found, a treatment plan can be put together that fits your needs.
At Spectrum Eye Care, we are committed to providing exceptional care and service to all of our Colorado Springs patients. If you’re experiencing issues with your vision, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Contact our eye clinic today if you have any questions.