Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness over age 50, affecting about 2.1 million people nationwide. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing vision loss.
February is AMD Awareness Month and Quigley Eye Specialists joins the American American Academy of Ophthalmology in educating the public about the facts on AMD.
AMD is a degenerative disease that happens when part of the retina called the macula is damaged. It’s the part of the eye that delivers sharp, central vision needed to see objects straight ahead. Over time, the loss of central vision can interfere with everyday activities, such as the ability to drive, read, and see faces clearly.
Ophthalmologists have more tools than ever before to diagnose the disease earlier, and to treat it better. But these advances cannot help patients whose disease is undiagnosed, or patients who are unaware of the seriousness of their disease. People’s lack of understanding about AMD is a real danger to public health. A recent study showed that most people with AMD don’t realize it’s a chronic health issue that requires regular attention for the rest of their lives. Here are seven steps to help you take control of your eye health:
1. Get regular comprehensive medical eye exams.
2. Quit smoking.
3. Eat a well-balanced diet.
4. Take the right kind of vitamins.
5. Exercise regularly.
6. Monitor your sight with an Amsler Grid.
7. Know your family’s eye health history.
If you have a close relative with AMD, you have a 50 percent greater chance of developing the condition. Before your next eye exam, speak with your family about their eye health history. You may need more frequent eye exams based on your family history.
Most people understand the importance of annual medical examinations. However, we often forget that our eyes also need regular evaluation by a medical doctor.
Degenerative diseases, such AMD, can now be successfully treated, but early detection is imperative to avoid lasting consequences.
Protect your eye health by scheduling an appointment with your eye care professional today. For more information on age-related macular degeneration or other eye conditions and diseases, visit the Quigley Eye Specialists website at QuigleyEye.com or the American Academy of Ophthalmology website at aao.org.
Duane Wiggins, M.D., is a Florida Board-Certified Ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon with Quigley Eye Specialists. For more information, call 239-466-2020 or visit QuigleyEye.com.