February has been declared “AMD Awareness Month”. AMD stands for Acquired Macular Degeneration, which affects many as they age. While great strides have been made in the prevention and management of AMD, the condition remains a challenge. PreventBlindness.org notes the following risk factors for AMD:
- Family history of AMD
- Aging – those over 60 years old
- Race – Caucasians have a higher rate of AMD
- Sex – females have a higher rate of AMD may be because they live longer
- Light colored eyes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol
- High sun exposure
- Poor diet – with low intake of anti-oxidants
Some of these are obviously unavoidable, while others can be controlled. Regulating blood pressure, avoiding smoking, and poor diet can go a long way towards preventing AMD as one ages.
Mayo Clinic lists symptoms of AMD:
- Visual distortions, such as straight lines seeming bent.
- Reduced central vision in one or both eyes.
- The need for brighter light when reading or doing close-up work.
- Increased difficulty adapting to low light levels, such as when entering a dimly lit restaurant.
- Increased blurriness of printed words.
AMD doesn’t occur overnight. It takes years to develop serious signs and symptoms. Our staff and doctors at Lake Howell Eye can monitor your eye health and help keep your lifestyle and habits moving in the right direction to avoid developing this serious eye condition. To learn more about AMD, check out a few of these great references: