Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the #1 cause of blindness in the US. In this devastating disease, damage to the part of your retina responsible for your central vision results in a blind spot in the center of your vision. This type of vision loss makes it very difficult to read, see people’s faces, and to drive. In most cases the onset of macular degeneration is gradual and many people don’t realize there is a problem until they are examined by their eye doctor in a routine eye exam.
There are many factors that determine your risk of developing AMD. Below is a list of the risks you can change and some that you can’t.
Risk Factors you CAN CHANGE:
- Exposure to the Sun without Sunglasses
- Cardiovascular disease
- Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise
Risk Factors you CAN’T CHANGE:
- Genetics (there is a hereditary component)
- Light Colored Eyes
- Being Caucasian (greater risk in fair-skinned people)
- Age (increased risk with increased age)
So Change the risk factors over which you have control. Wear your sunglasses, don’t smoke, live a healthy lifestyle, and get an annual eye examination. And don’t forget the dilation. Nobody loves eye drops or blurred vision, but blurred vision from a dilated exam lasts a few hours….Vision loss from Macular Degeneration lasts a lifetime.