February is Low Vision Awareness Month, a time to share information and spread awareness about Age-related Macular Degeneration. If you’ve been diagnosed with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), it’s important to take steps to protect and preserve your vision. While there is currently no cure for AMD, there are many things you can do to slow the progress of the disease and reduce vision loss.
What Is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
As the name implies, AMD is an age-related eye disease that affects your central vision. More than 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with Age-related Macular Degeneration. It’s the leading cause of vision loss for people over 50.
AMD vision loss occurs as a result of damage to the macula, the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. Symptoms of AMD include:
- Blank, blurry, or dark spots in your field of vision.
- Visual distortions, such as waves or curves in straight lines
- Reduced central vision
- Difficulty in adapting to lower light levels
- Decreased intensity or brightness of colors
There are several factors that can increase your risks of developing AMD, such as:
- Family history
- Race (AMD is more common in Caucasians)
- Heart disease
Since the symptoms of AMD rarely appear in the early stages of the disease, it’s important to get regular comprehensive eye exams. A few of the procedures your eye doctor will use to determine if you have AMD include:
- Visual field tests
- Dilated eye exams
- Fluorescein angiography
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
- Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA)
The earlier your AMD is detected, the more effective treatment will be.
Managing and Treating Your AMD
Your eye doctor will discuss ways to manage your AMD to slow the progression of the disease, reduce further vision loss, and preserve your existing vision.
In many instances, the symptoms of your AMD can be managed through lifestyle modifications:
- Don’t smoke
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of antioxidants, zinc, unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids
- High-dose formulation of antioxidant vitamins and minerals
- Manage your heart disease or other medical conditions
- Maintain a healthy weight and get regular exercise
- Get regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams
Your eye doctor may recommend therapies to treat your AMD, including photodynamic therapy, low vision rehabilitation, and photocoagulation. Medications such as Bevacizumab (Avastin), Ranibizumab (Lucentis), Aflibercept (Eylea), and Brolucizumab (Beovu) may also be administered if the problems are being caused by blood vessels in the retina.
Left untreated, AMD can lead to significant vision loss. However, if you manage your symptoms, make a few lifestyle modifications, and get regular eye exams, you can effectively reduce the advancement of the disease and preserve your vision quality for many years to come.
Advanced Treatments after Being Diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Houston
Berkeley Eye Center has been providing the highest quality of eye care to patients throughout the Houston area for more than 60 years. We offer the most advanced treatments for AMD, glaucoma, cataracts, and other age-related vision problems.
If you’re over the age of 50 and have been noticing changes in your vision, or it’s been a while since you had a comprehensive eye exam, contact Berkeley Eye Center to schedule an appointment to see one of our vision care specialists today. We offer patients many different payment options and accept most forms of vision insurance.