What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
There are many layers of tiny cells present in Macula. As we grow older, these tiny cells do not function adequately. If they do not, then there is high probability of deposits building up in the retina. Also, new blood vessels will grow inside the retina. The new vessels are delicate, and often bleed easily. Under these different conditions, your retina will not function properly. You will have a distorted or blurred vision, and sometimes, no vision. AMD has been identified as a common condition affecting people more than 50 years old. In a few cases, AMD develops slowly, affecting people at a later stage. In other cases, its progression can be evidently faster. When Macula or central portion of your eye deteriorates, the condition is called Macular degeneration. It is medically acknowledged as an incurable eye disease. Under macular degeneration, an individual will not be able to see properly. In severe cases, the person will suffer total vision loss. When macula is damaged, its functioning process of recording the images and sending a brain signal via the optic nerve suffers.
The prevalence of age-related macular degeneration is increasing in Asia due to increase in life expectancy and rising incidents of diabetes among the younger population. As per the Centre for Eye Research Australia, prevalence of diabetic retinopathy among people ranged between 17% and 22% in India, and 43.1% in rural China in 2012. Age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration, are the leading causes of visual impairment and blindness in North America. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 22 million Americans aged 40 and above were affected by cataract and 2.3 million Americans were affected by glaucoma in 2011.
Common signs of this disease include:
- Blurred vision.
- Need for more light to read.
- Reduced appreciate of colors.
- Difficulty in recognizing faces.
- Spot in your central vision.
People with certain lifestyle habits are more prone to AMD. Some of the most probable causes include:
- Family history.
- Growing age.
The main risk factors include:
- Total vision loss.
- Blurred vision getting stronger over time as there is a blank spot in the centre portion of the eye.
- Inability to view brighter images.
There are certain steps to reduce the risk of AMD which include:
- Smoking should be avoided.
- Introduce spinach, fruits & nuts, fish or fish oil, and carbohydrates in your diet.
- Keep your BP and cholesterol in check.