February Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month


Courtesy of Friends for Sight
NEW YORK—Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of vision loss among people ages 50 and older and in an effort to educate the public, associations and organizations in the optical industry are recognizing February as Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, new treatments have dramatically changed the course of the disease, making it more manageable than before. According to the National Eye Institute, AMD 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 doesn’t occur for a long time while the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology lists two types of the disease: wet AMD and dry AMD. Dry AMD, is the most common, affecting approximately 80 percent of people who have AMD. It occurs when parts of the macula get thinner and tiny clumps of protein grow causing loss of central vision. Wet AMD, though less common, is much more serious. It occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula.

In recognition of AMD awareness month, Friends for Sight urges people to be aware of the risk factors associated with AMD. Being older than 50, family history, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure/cholesterol and a lack of vitamins prevalent in fruits and vegetables are all risk factors associated with AMD.