Many people suffer from various eye conditions worldwide but there is one that needs to be watched out for, and it’s called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). So, what is it exactly? It is a an eye condition that affects the macula of the eye, the part where the central vision is processed and where it is at its sharpest.
Here are five things that you need to know about AMD that might help you avoid developing this debilitating disease.
1. It’s more common and widespread than you think.
In the United States alone, there are more or less 15 million Americans diagnosed with the disease, not to mention millions more outside of the country. Around 14-24% of Americans aged from 65 to 74 years and 35% of those over the age of 75 are suffering from this disease.
2. It can cause blindness.
AMD is known to greatly affect a person’s vision, robbing any individual with such a condition of his or her peripheral vision, the outermost vision of the eye. What makes it worse is that it leaves the center part of the eyes’ vision with either black holes or dark images.
However, that’s not what’s the most dangerous about AMD. In fact, this eye condition is the number one cause of legal blindness (as well as severe vision loss) in Americans over the age of 60. This is alarming because as the baby boomers advance into this particular age bracket, AMD could become an epidemic.
3. There are two different types of AMD.
The first is called wet age-related macular degeneration (neovascular), while the second is called dry age-related macular degeneration (atrophic).
Wet age-related macular degeneration is the more complicated type between the two. It affects around 10 to 15% of individuals with the condition, but astoundingly accounts for a whopping 90% of the severe vision loss.
What happens with this particular type is that the retinal membrane thickens before breaking. The oxygen then fails to go to the macula, so the body responds to the issue by growing new, albeit abnormal blood vessels that now begin to expand. They then pass through the breaks in the damaged membrane towards the macula, which often causes the retina to be raised from its normal position.
Dry age-related macular degeneration, on the other hand, is the common type of macular degeneration, affecting about 90% of those diagnosed with AMD. Here the retinal pigment epithelial cells’ (RPE) layer thins and breaks down and affects vision because the cells work hand in hand with light-sensitive photoreceptor cells that are a vital part of vision. These photoreceptor cells are responsible for collecting the images and sends them to the brain for processing.
4. There is no cure yet for AMD.
Yes, as widespread as it is, there is no definite cure for AMD as we speak. There are, however, treatments available for wet age-related macular degeneration but no available treatment for the dry age-related macular degeneration.
5. It can prevent you from doing activities that you have long been accustomed to.
AMD affects, if not destroys, that clear, central vision that people need for doing a whole range of activities such as identifying faces, watching television, driving, reading, and tons of other daily tasks that people seem to take for granted when they have normal vision.
Even how one views and differentiates one color from the other is affected. Those who have been used to living independently might find themselves forced to become dependent on support upon developing the condition, making even the most menial tasks a big challenge.