Age-Related Macular Degeneration is the nation’s leading cause of vision loss—more than cataracts or glaucoma combined! It’s estimated that nearly 10 million Americans suffer from Age-Related Macular Degeneration (or AMD) and seniors are in the highest risk population.
This debilitating disease progressively diminishes a victim’s central vision. Individuals slowly (or not-so-slowly) lose their ability to see fine details and may eventually end up partially blinded. Unfortunately, there is no known cause and no known treatment–which means prevention is absolutely essential!
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
In a normal, healthy eye the lens captures light and focuses it on the retina at the back of the eye. The retina then translates that light into electrical signals that are passed along the optic nerve to the vision processing portion of the brain. The brain sorts out these electrical signals and we “see” what’s in front of us. However, Macular Degeneration irreparably destroys the central portion of the retina.
The symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration may be difficult to spot because in the early stages of the disease victims don’t notice any changes at all. Eventually many experience wavy or blurred vision. In advanced cases the victims may see what appears to be a void right in the center of their field of vision.
Individuals suffering from Macular Degeneration will lose their ability to:
Or recognize faces of loved ones
Risk Factors for Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Even as prevalent as this disease is scientists have been unable to pinpoint a direct cause (though it’s likely that both hereditary connections as well as environmental factors play a part). Doctors have been able to identify a handful of risk factors though which may help individual’s reduce their risk and help health care providers focus on patients likely to develop AMD.
A family history of AMD
Race (Caucasians are at much higher risk)
Smoking (effectively doubles the chances of developing AMD)
What You Can Do to Prevent AMD in Seniors You Love
There are currently no effective treatments for Age-Related Macular Degeneration. That means that prevention of this crippling disease is absolutely essential. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk.
Eating healthier, maintaining a healthy weight, and physical exercise have been shown to decrease a person’s risk of developing AMD.
Because the disease doesn’t exhibit any noticeable symptoms in the early stages, regular eye exams are of the utmost importance.
Smoking cessation can decrease a person’s risk by 50%!
Protecting the eyes from Ultra Violet light is essential. Makes sure everyone you care about (no matter how old they are) wears appropriate UV-blocking sunglasses!
For more information about Age-related Macular Degeneration, visit the National Eye Institute’s website.
We Can Help Care for Seniors with AMD
Second Family Home Care provides non-medical in-home care in Frisco for families who need a little assistance or those who need a lot. To learn how the compassionate individuals at Second Family Home Care can help aging individual’s with diminished vision (including AMD) live more comfortably in their own homes, contact us or call (972)347-0700 to schedule a consultation today.