Be Aware of Macular Degeneration (AMD) Risk Factors

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Be Aware of Macular Degeneration (AMD) Risk Factors

Dr. Aaron Parnes, MD, Vitreoretinal Specialist
Seniors and others concerned with age related vision loss should become familiar with the risk factors associated with age related macular degeneration (AMD). Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of severe vision loss among Americans ages 65 and over. Knowing your risk factors, being aware of your family history, and scheduling regular eye exam appointments with your eye doctor can help reduce your risks for vision loss from macular degeneration. The key to preventing vision loss from age related macular degeneration is early detection, diagnosis and treatment as recommended by your eye doctor. 

Know the Top AMD Risks
Ø  Being over the Age of 60
Ø  Having a Family History of AMD
Ø  Cigarette Smoking
Ø  Obesity
Ø  Hypertension

If you have any two of these risk factors, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor a complete eye exam and evaluation. Your doctor may recommend additional specialized testing if necessary as well as certain preventive measures which can reduce your risk of vision loss from this disorder.

Reducing AMD Risk Factors
There are some AMD risk factors that a person can change such as stopping smoking and eating a low fat diet rich in green leafy vegetables along with reducing alcohol consumptions that can reduce the risk of vision loss from AMD. Other risk factors such as genetic factors cannot be changed. However, knowing your family medical history is one way to learn whether you may be genetically predisposed to a disease. For patients at high risk for developing late stage AMD, taking a dietary supplement of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, has been shown to lower the risk of AMD advancing to advanced stages by 25 percent.

Know the Symptoms of Wet AMD
People who are at risk should know the symptoms of Wet AMD, the form most likely to cause rapid, serious and catastrophic vision loss. With early detection, diagnosis and treatment it is possible to avoid or minimize vision loss from Wet AMD. Symptoms of Wet AMD might include sudden, noticeable loss or distortion of vision, such as seeing “wavy” lines, “distortion”, “bending of straight lines and objects”.

If you experience any of these symptoms, please call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020 immediately and explain your symptoms and request urgent appointment. Current treatments for Wet AMD using injections of Vascular Endothelial Growth (VEGF) inhibitors drugs such as Lucentis® and Eylea® provide an excellent chance of stopping vision loss and may actually restore some vision when macular degeneration develops. Earlier diagnosis of wet AMD gives us a better chance of successful treatment.

If you or someone you know has questions age related macular degeneration (AMD)risks and symptoms or needs an eye exam for AMD should feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.