Are you experiencing signs of Macular Degeneration?

Are you experiencing signs of Macular Degeneration?

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) can present itself differently in different people and may not be obvious in early stages. In some individuals, only one eye loses vision while the other eye continues to see well for many years making the condition hardly noticeable until both eyes are affected. Making detection even more difficult, our well-intentioned brains often learn to compensate and fill in missing parts of the picture.

What is AMD?

AMD is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead.

In some people, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for a long time. In others, the disease progresses faster. As AMD progresses, a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision. Objects also may not appear to be as bright as they used to be.

AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness. However, the loss of central vision can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write, or do close work, such as cooking or fixing things around the house.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms included:

  • Hazy vision;
  • Need for increasingly bright light to see up close;
  • Blank or blurry spot in your central vision;
  • Colors appear less vivid or bright;
  • Difficulty seeing when going from bright light to low light;
  • Visual distortions such as straight lines seeming bent;
  • Trouble recognizing people’s faces.

Since AMD has few recognizable symptoms in the early stages, it’s important to have your eyes examined regularly. If you are at risk for AMD, you should not wait to experience changes in vision before getting checked.

To raise awareness of AMD, the Macular Degeneration Partnership (MDP) is distributing a national public service announcement showing the effects of AMD as seen through the eyes of a woman with the disease:

Who’s at risk?

Age: The disease is most likely to occur after age 60, but it can occur earlier:

  • One in six Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 will be affected;
  • One in four Americans between 64 and 74 will be affected;
  • One in three over the age of 75 will be affected.

Genetics: People who have a first relative (e.g., parent, sibling) with AMD may be up to 30% more likely to develop AMD.

AMD is more common among Caucasians than among African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos.

Lifestyle: You may be at higher risk for AMD if one or more of the following apply to you:

  • High blood pressure;
  • High cholesterol levels;
  • Little to no regular exercise;
  • Smoking;
  • Obesity.

It’s estimated that 12 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with AMD with 200,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. That’s one new case every three minutes. Each year, 1.2 million of the estimated 12 million people with AMD will suffer severe central vision loss. Each year, 200,000 individuals will lose all central vision in one or both eyes.

What are stages of AMD?

Although early detection is difficult for most people, doing so is critical to slowing the progression of this debilitating disease.

Early AMD: People with early AMD typically do not have vision loss.

Intermediate AMD: People with intermediate AMD may experience some vision loss, but most people will not experience any symptoms.

Advanced AMD: People with advanced AMD have vision loss from damage to the macula. The damage at this stage may be rapid and severe.

How is AMD treated?

AMD occurs less often in people who exercise, avoid smoking, wear sunglasses, and eat nutritious foods including green leafy vegetables and fish. There is no treatment if you have early stage AMD or are at risk for developing AMD. However, adopting some of these habits and even taking a daily multi-vitamin formulated specifically for eye and whole body health, such as Daily Shield by Doctor’s Advantage, may help you keep your vision longer.

While no cure for intermediate nor advanced AMD currently exists either, a large scientific study (Age-Related Eye Disease or AREDS) sponsored by the National Eye Institute has shown that taking a dietary supplement of vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, along with zinc, lowered the risk of macular degeneration progressing to advanced stages by at least 25 percent.

The formulations tested in the AREDS trials contain much higher doses of vitamins and minerals than what is found in standard multivitamins so if you’re at risk for developing late AMD, you should consider taking an AREDS supplement such as Macular Shield or Macular Shield plus Multivitamin by Doctor’s Advantage.

It’s recommended that you consult with your physician or eye care professional before taking new medications.

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