February Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration/ Low Vision Awareness Month by Dr. J. A. Parker

J.A. Parker
J.A. Parker

Macular degeneration (or AMD) is an age-related condition in which a part of the retina, called the macula, starts to break down and lose its ability to create clear vision. The macula is responsible for central vision – that part of our sight we use to read, drive and recognize faces. Side vision (or peripheral vision) is unaffected by AMD.

AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans age 65 and older. Since Americans are living longer now than in previous times, this condition is becoming more prevalent. There are 2 forms of AMD: dry and wet. The dry form is more common and results from the aging and thinning of the macular tissue. Deposits also begin to form in the macula. The vision loss from dry can range from mild to extensive.

The wet form is less common and can occur when the dry stage progresses. New blood vessels form in the macula causing fluid to leak. This results in severe vision reduction and may require laser treatments or injections to stop the leakage. Vitamin therapy high in antioxidants can significantly reduce the risk of advanced dry AMD and its associated vision loss.

When treatment is administered, the leakage of fluid may stop, but the vision may still be reduced. Low vision is a service available for those whose vision cannot be corrected with regular eyeglasses. High powered lenses such as microscopes, telescopes, and magnifiers are provided to help improve the sight.

Low Vision is a specialty service and is only provided by a few Optometrists. It is not only beneficial for people with AMD, but also for glaucoma, head trauma, and other birth or genetic eye conditions. I encourage you to take advantage of this awareness month and have your eyes examined. Tell your doctor you want to know if you are at risk for AMD. It is a genetic condition and it could be passed to you from a previous generation. Early intervention and nutritional therapy can prevent the development or progression AMD. I invite you to visit EnVision Eye Care. I am also a Low Vision specialist who can provide the services you need to get you back to a normal lifestyle (driving, reading, or working). 321 W. Montgomery Crossroads, Savannah (near Hunter Golf Course and VA Medical Clinic). For appointments, call (912) 927-0707 and visit us at www.envisionsavannah.com.

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