The center of your eye's retina, where the sharpest vision is focused, is called the macula. When the macula begins to break down, this is called macular degeneration. Because it usually happens later in life, it's also known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD. If you've received an AMD diagnosis, you probably have many questions. Here are some of the more common ones we get at Franklin Family Eyecare:
Is AMD Always Caused by Age?
While most cases happen after the age of 65, not all do. Some drugs can cause macular degeneration, plus some cases are hereditary. It's relatively rare, but children and teenagers can develop macular degeneration, as well.
Who is at Risk for AMD?
While anyone can develop macular degeneration, you're more likely to get it if you're over 65, you're a smoker or you have a family member who's already developed the condition. Some medications increase your chances of macular degeneration, including Aralen, Thorazine, Mellaril, Prolixin, Trilafon and Stelazine.
What are Some Causes of Macular Degeneration?
There is no single cause for this condition, but many can combine to increase the chances of you developing the disease. Some of the most common are:
- More ultraviolet light due to a thinning ozone layer
- Poor diet
- Environmental pollutants
Can I Prevent AMD?
There is no 100 percent way to prevent AMD from happening, but you can lower your odds significantly by wearing UV protection on your eyes in the form of good sunglasses every time you go outside. Eating food rich in antioxidants such as green, leafy vegetables, quitting smoking and staying a healthy weight can also help.
What are Macular Degeneration Symptoms?
Early symptoms may be straight lines that look wavy, fuzzy vision or the center or your vision looking dark and shadowed. Our optometrist in Somerset can find other signs long before you notice any symptoms, which is why it's crucial to get regular eye examinations.
What About Macular Degeneration Treatment?
Macular degeneration treatment is moving forward quickly now, with new medications being developed frequently. The FDA has approved a number of drugs that work to prevent abnormal blood vessels from being formed in the eye. In addition, our doctor may recommend antioxidant and zinc therapy, which has been shown to help in a certain number of patients.
With some patients, laser surgery has been shown to slow vision loss in certain types of AMD. Our Somerset optometrist can treat you in our office in most cases.
Our Somerset Optometrist Can Answer Your Questions and Concerns!
If you have any questions about macular degeneration, call our office for an appointment at (732) 412-7328. We're in the heart of Somerset, and we also treat patients from Franklin Township, Hillsborough, and Bound Brook. We look forward to meeting with you!