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Macular Degeneration and Low Vision
Age-related macular degeneration, abbreviated to AMD or ARMD, usually affects older adults. AMD is common, according to the National Eye Institute, and it is a leading cause of vision loss among people aged 55 and older. Macular degeneration causes damage to the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for sharp, center vision straight ahead. Fortunately, our optometrist serving Redondo Beach can detect AMD.
The macula is in the center of the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue lining the inside of your eye. It is made up of thousands of light-sensing cells that turn light into signals, which they then send to the brain for translation into the images you see. Damage to the retina, especially in the macula, results in blurry, distorted or dark vision.
In some people, the disease progresses so slowly that the vision loss can be difficult to notice. In other cases, vision loss seems occurs very quickly. AMD can cause vision loss in one or both eyes.
While macular degeneration itself does not lead to complete blindness, the loss of central vision does complicate everyday tasks. Driving, reading, working on a computer, cooking – even doing housework or watching television – becomes more difficult.
Age is a major risk factor for the development of AMD, as the disease is most likely to occur after the age of 60. Other risk factors influence the development of this disease. Smoking doubles your risk for developing AMD. Race plays a role, in that AMD is more common among Caucasians than it is in Latinos or African/Americans. Family history is also a factor – you are at higher risk for AMD if you have a family history of the vision-robbing disease.
Scientists think you can reduce your risk for developing AMD by making a few simple lifestyle changes. You can avoid smoking, exercise regularly, maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and eat a diet rich in leafy, green vegetables and fish.
Low vision is a condition where glasses, contacts, surgery, or medicine cannot improve vision. Many conditions can cause low vision, sometimes called vision impairment, including:
Low vision makes it difficult to read, write, watch television, work on a computer, recognize people or the expressions on faces, and perform activities of daily living. Like macular degeneration, low vision significantly reduces the quality of life.
The early stages of AMD and low vision usually start without symptoms, which makes these conditions difficult for anyone other than an eye doctor to detect. Fortunately, our optometrist serving Redondo Beach has the training, tools and expertise to detect and diagnose AMD and low vision.
If you think you have AMD and live in Manhattan Beach and El Segundo areas, make an appointment with our eye doctor at Advanced Eyecare Center.