Top 5 Macular Degeneration (AMD) Risk Factors

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Top 5 Macular Degeneration (AMD) Risk Factors

Andrew Hammer, MD
Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist
As February is AMD Awareness Month, we wanted to share some useful information about age related macular degeneration risk factors. Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of severe vision loss among Americans ages 65 and over. Knowing your risk factors, being aware of your family history, and scheduling regular eye exam appointments with your eye doctor can help reduce your risks for vision loss from macular degeneration. The key to preventing vision loss from age related macular degeneration is early detection, diagnosis and treatment as recommended by your eye doctor. 

Know the Top AMD Risks
Ø  Being over the Age of 60
Ø  Having a Family History of AMD
Ø  Cigarette Smoking
Ø  Obesity
Ø  Hypertension

If you have any two of these risk factors, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor a complete eye exam and evaluation. Your doctor may recommend certain preventive measures which can reduce your risk of vision loss from this disorder.

Managing AMD Risk Factors
There are some AMD risk factors that a person can change such as smoking and diet to reduce the risk of vision loss from AMD. Other risk factors such as genetic factors cannot be changed. However, knowing your family medical history is one way to learn whether you may be genetically predisposed to a disease. One way to reduce AMD risk is to quit smoking or never start. For patients at high risk for developing late stage AMD, taking a dietary supplement of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, has been shown to lower the risk of AMD advancing to advanced stages by 25 percent. Eating green leafy vegetables and reducing alcohol consumption are also helpful in preventing AMD.

Know the Symptoms of Wet AMD
With early detection, diagnosis and treatment it is possible to avoid or minimize vision loss from Wet AMD. People who are at risk should know the symptoms of Wet AMD, the form most likely to cause rapid and serious vision loss. These include sudden, noticeable loss or distortion of vision, such as seeing “wavy” lines, “distortion”, “bending of straight lines and objects”. If you experience any of these symptoms, please call our office right away and explain your symptoms and request an immediate appointment. Current treatments for Wet AMD provide an excellent chance of stopping vision loss and may actually restore some vision when macular degeneration develops. Earlier diagnosis of wet AMD gives a better chance of successful treatment.

If you or someone you know has questions or is concerned about AMD risk, please feel free to schedule an eye exam by calling Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter so we help with your dry eye problems.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and River Hill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.