Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60 years old.

There are two main types of AMD: dry AMD and wet AMD. Dry AMD is the most common type and accounts for about 85% of all cases. It is characterized by the gradual breakdown of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), the layer of cells that supports the photoreceptors in the retina. Wet AMD is less common, but it is more serious. It is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina. These blood vessels can leak fluid and blood, which can damage the macula.

The exact cause of AMD is not known, but it is thought to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the risk factors for AMD include:

  • Age: AMD is more common in people over 60 years old.
  • Family history: People with a family history of AMD are more likely to develop the condition.
  • Race: AMD is more common in Caucasians than in African Americans and Hispanics.
  • Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for AMD.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure is a risk factor for AMD.
  • Obesity: Obesity is a risk factor for AMD.
  • Sun exposure: Excessive sun exposure is a risk factor for AMD.

There is no cure for AMD, but there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease and preserve vision. Treatment for dry AMD typically involves taking antioxidant supplements, such as vitamins C and E, and lutein and zeaxanthin. Treatment for wet AMD may involve laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, or injections of anti-VEGF drugs.

If you are over 60 years old, it is important to have regular eye exams to check for AMD. Early detection and treatment can help to slow the progression of the disease and preserve your vision.

Here are some additional things you can do to reduce your risk of developing AMD:

  • Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays.

If you have any concerns about AMD, talk to your eye doctor.

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