Age-related Macular Degeneration or AMD is an eye disease that is associated with ageing that affects the central vision. Central vision is needed to see detailed objects clearly and is important for everyday tasks such as reading and driving.
There are forms of AMD that advances slowly that people may not notice that their vision is getting worse over time until the late stages of the disease. There are also form of AMD that progresses rapidly that causes sudden vision loss. Effective treatment exist for some types of AMD and early detection can prevent vision loss.
Normally, AMD doesn’t cause pain and it often has no symptoms in its early stages. People who have AMD may have distorted vision as straight lines may appear bent or wavy. They may have difficulty with reading or clearly seeing faces that dost not improve with prescription glasses. They may have dark patches or empty spaces (blindspots) in the centre of their vision.
Individuals who are 40 years old are at risk of developing AMD. The risk increases sharply with age and it is estimated that around one in seven people aged over 50 have AMD. For each decade after the age of 40, the risk trebles. If you have a family history of AMD either a parent or sibling, the risk is present. Other than that, smokers are at risk of developing AMD as well.
To prevent or slow down AMD to protect yourself and your loved ones, have regular eye test by a qualified eye health professional such as an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. They should be checking the macula at the back of the eye. If your vision starts to change, visit an eye health professional as soon as possible. If you are a smoker, stop smoking or never start. To prevent or slow down, eat a healthy diet including fish, nuts, fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables.