Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of severe vision loss in men and women over the age of 50. As the name suggests, AMD develops as you age, but there are other elements that can contribute to your likelihood of getting this eye disease. February is AMD Awareness Month, and our eye doctors want you to know if you’re at risk for macular degeneration as well as actions you can take to lower your chances of vision loss.
What is AMD?
Long-term exposure to the environment and advanced aging eventually leads to an increase of unstable molecules that cause macular damage. The macula is the tiny center of your retina, and as the damage occurs, your body responds through inflammation, which in turn causes more destruction to your macula, creating a cycle that ends with macular scarring and central vision loss. There are two types of AMD, one of which causes rapid vision loss over the span weeks or months.
Vision loss from AMD is irreversible, so the first step you can take toward preserving your eyesight is a diagnostic eye exam when you turn 40.
Risk Factors for AMD
The biggest risk factor for AMD is age, which is why you should be tested more and more as you get older. Once you’ve reached the age of 65 and older, you should be getting tested for AMD every one to two years.
Other attributes that increase your risk of AMD include:
- A diet high in artificial fats—foods made with hydrogenated vegetable oils
- Sun exposure, specifically blue wavelengths
- Uncontrolled high cholesterol and hypertension
- A diet focused on packaged, processed foods with little fresh produce
The risks listed above can be lowered over time if you change some of your lifestyle habits, but you can’t stop the aging process or change your genetics. Studies have shown that you’re three to four times more likely to develop this eye disease if a close family member has AMD.
Schedule your eye exam with one our eye doctors in Poughkeepsie today at 845-454-1025 . Seeta Eye Care Center serves clients in Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Dutchess County and surrounding areas of New York.