Early Intervention Can Save Precious Sight
If you are over the age of 50, it is more important than ever to have regular comprehensive eye exams. Not only are these the years when you may start to notice your reading vision has diminished, this is also the season of life where you are at greater risk of developing an eye disease called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, so we’d like to take some time to educate our valued patient family about this sight-stealing eye condition. At Cargo Eye Care of Las Colinas, we are passionately dedicated to helping you and your family enjoy healthy vision for a lifetime. So let’s learn more about AMD.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Age-Related Macular Degeneration is an eye disease with a strong hereditary factor. It affects your central vision, where sharpest vision occurs, causing difficulty with daily tasks like driving, reading and recognizing faces. AMD is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, and nearly 20 million people in the United States are living with some type of age-related macular degeneration.
There are two primary types of AMD. The most common is “dry” AMD. This type is caused by the appearance of small yellow deposits called drusen, which form just under the retina. Dry AMD typically progresses slowly over a period of years and accounts for most AMD diagnoses. “Wet” AMD is more rare and typically causes rapid and more serious vision loss. With wet AMD, tiny blood vessels grow under and into the retina, where they eventually break, leak and ultimately cause an irreversible loss of vision.
What Are the Symptoms of AMD?
In the early stages of macular degeneration, you may not exhibit any noticeable symptoms. But the first symptom you may notice is a gradual or sudden change in the quality of your central vision or straight lines may appear wavy to you. Left unaddressed, this can result in a dramatic loss of central vision.
How is AMD Treated?
Early detection is the key to protecting your vision as you age. At Cargo Eye Care, treatment for dry AMD begins with having regular eye exams, especially for our patient population that is age 50 and older. There is currently no treatment to reverse damage caused by AMD but the experienced optometric team at Cargo Eye Care of Las Colinas can provide suggestions on how to protect your eyes from further damage. Basic lifestyle changes, like protecting your eyes from sunlight, taking vitamins and supplements, quitting smoking and eating a balanced diet can slow the development of the disease.
If detected, our doctors may recommend a combination of nutritional supplements, including a supplement called AREDS2, which is a special combination of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to slow the progression of dry macular degeneration.
Wet AMD treatment can include intravitreal injections that inhibit the growth of the abnormal blood cells that cause wet AMD. Our experienced eye doctors can help you determine the best course of treatment for your unique condition.
Am I at Risk for AMD?
Risk factors associated with age-related macular degeneration include:
- Family history of AMD
- Age (50 and older)
- A high-fat diet
- High blood pressure
Especially if other people in your family have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, it is extremely important to proactively do what you can to prevent the disease by having annual comprehensive eye exams.
Comprehensive Eye Care for the Entire Family
Regardless of how old or young you are, it is important to make regular eye exams part of your overall approach to living a healthy life. Cargo Eye Care of Las Colinas offers comprehensive eye exams adapted to your unique circumstances and takes into consideration all the concerns associated with the season of life you are in. Most experts agree that you should have a comprehensive vision exam (including dilation) every one to two years, depending on age, health, risk factors and whether you currently wear glasses or contacts.
Since many eye diseases and conditions come with no early warning signs, an annual comprehensive eye exam enables early detection of conditions like macular degeneration, diabetic eye changes, glaucoma and more. Routine eye examinations are the best safeguard for maintaining good vision at any stage of life. Schedule one today and let the experienced team at Cargo Eye Care serve you.