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Age-related macular degeneration

Do you have trouble with seeing the fine detail in things? Have trouble reading, sewing or driving? Age related macular degeneration (AMD) could be the cause. It is an eye disorder that affects the macula, a part of the retina. The retina sends l...

Do you have trouble with seeing the fine detail in things? Have trouble reading, sewing or driving?

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) could be the cause. It is an eye disorder that affects the macula, a part of the retina. The retina sends light from the eye to the brain and the macula allows you to see fine detail.

AMD blurs the sharp central vision you need for straight-ahead activities. It causes no pain. It may advance so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. It is a common eye condition among people age 50 and older. It is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults.

There are two forms of AMD - dry and wet.

Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These new vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. This raises the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye.

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An early symptom is that straight lines appear wavy. If you notice this, contact your eye care professional. With wet AMD, loss of central vision can occur quickly. Wet AMD is considered to be advanced AMD and is more severe than the dry form.

Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the eye. As dry AMD gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision.

The most common symptom of dry AMD is slightly blurred vision. You may have difficulty recognizing faces, need more light for reading and other tasks.

One of the most common signs of dry AMD is drusen, which are yellow deposits under the retina. In addition to this, people may have a breakdown of light-sensitive cells and supporting tissue of the macula. This can cause a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over time the spot may get bigger and darker.

AMD is most common in older people but it can occur during middle age. Other risk factors include: smoking, obesity, race (whites are much more likely to contract AMD), family history of AMD and being a woman.

What can you do to protect your vision? Contact your eye care professional and schedule your yearly appointment. They can provide you with information on tests for AMD and other eye problems. Don't wait ¬¬- contact them now.

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