Your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) increases as you age into and past your 50s. It is a leading cause of blindness and the effects are irreversible. There are ways to prevent the disease from progressing, making detection in the early stages absolutely necessary to saving your sight. If you have noticed any symptoms of AMD, book an appointment at Willoughby Doctors of Optometry right away.
This ocular disease is very hard to discern on your own. It happens so gradually it is almost imperceptible. Due to the slow, painless nature of this disease, by the time the progression is noticeable the vision loss is already detrimental. This is due to the important role your macula plays in your central vision.
Your retina is the large, light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. The macula is directly in the center of this retinal area, creating the distinct images we see. It is responsible for the fine details in the center of our field of vision.
When you read a book, use your smartphone, or drive your vehicle you have your central vision to thank. Your eyes are well-tuned to focus on the fine details directly in front of your face. As your macula deteriorates, so does your central vision. This means that objects may become distorted or have blank spots in them. At first, you may just think it is a passing illusion, or your eyes playing tricks on you. In the case of AMD, that is your first sign of permanent vision loss.
While it is very difficult to notice the onset and progression of this disease here are a few key traits to look out for, one eye at a time:
To self-test your vision, your optometrist may give you an Amsler Grid. Created by a Swiss Ophthalmologist, Marc Amsler, it is a grid of black lines on a white background with a black dot in the middle. If you have no macular degeneration the lines will appear straight and consistent. If your macula is beginning to break down you will see wavy lines, black patches, or blank spots.
If you are concerned about developing AMD you can print an Amsler Grid for yourself at home to keep track of your eyesight. Find that print out here. Be sure to check one eye at a time. The very first day you notice any changes, please book an appointment with us.
Age-related macular degeneration has two variations: wet and dry. It is more likely that you will experience AMD in both eyes, but it is possible for it to only affect one or to occur at different rates in each eye.
This form makes up 90% of all cases. Drusen are a byproduct of metabolism which collects as you get older. An abundance of drusen deposits form under the retina causes a deterioration of the macula and loss of vision. It may or may not turn into the wet form of AMD.
Normally preceded by the dry form of AMD. New blood vessels are created but are not as strong as the original ones. They may leak fluid and blood, scarring your macula and causing vision loss. Once the vessels begin to leak, the resulting vision loss happens much quicker and creates more permanent damage than the dry form.
Don’t wait. Visit Willoughby Doctors of Optometry today.
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