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Age Related Macular Degeneration
While every aspect of your vision is important, your central visual field is perhaps the most critical of all. This is the zone you use to fix on people and objects directly in front of you -- so you can imagine what it might be like to see poorly or not at all in this zone. That's what can happen if you develop macular degeneration, or AMD. Fortunately, we can diagnose and treat this issue here at our optometry clinic, Advanced Eyecare Center, with locations in both Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach.
Age related macular degeneration is a condition in which the part of your retina that handles your central vision, an area called the macula, experiences progressive, permanent damage. This can cause waviness, blank spots, or other distortions in this part of your vision.
There are actually two different types of AMD. Most sufferers experience the atropic or "dry" variety. This earlier stage of the disease features the development of tiny deposits called drusen on the macula. The more advanced "wet" (neovascular) AMD features the creation of new, weak blood vessels that break and bleed. This is the kind of AMD that most often causes severe vision loss.
Age-related macular degeneration usually makes its first appearance in a person's 50s or 60s. In addition to age, gender (females are more prone to it), light-colored irises, farsightedness, and genetics are other fixed risk factors. Other, more controllable risk factors include alcohol abuse, smoking, obesity, and untreated high blood pressure are also associated with AMD. Yet another factor is exposure to both UV rays and a part of the blue-light spectrum called HEV light (which is generated, not only by the sun but also by computer/smartphone LED screens). By controlling or limiting these variable risks, it may be possible to prevent AMD or greatly reduce your chances of getting it.
Since the damage caused by AMD cannot be reversed, our optometrists urge everyone to receive an annual comprehensive eye exam so we can catch the problem ASAP. By studying the inside of the eye, we can see the telltale signs of AMD development. If you do have AMD, we can help you manage the condition and preserve your eyesight.
Dry AMD may respond to dietary adjustments, protection from harmful light (via sunglasses and computer glasses), and treatment of underlying medical risk factors. In cases of wet AMD, injectable medications can help prevent harmful new blood vessels from forming.
You don't have to let AMD steal your central vision away from you. Take a proactive approach by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam to check for this and any other sight-threatening conditions. Call Advanced Eyecare Center, at either our Manhattan Beach or Redondo Beach location, for an appointment!