February is Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD or AMD) is a condition of the retina (back of the eye) that is diagnosed and monitored during your annual dilated comprehensive eye exam.

Did everyone just quiver when I mentioned, "dilated?" I know that dilation is something that every patient dreads: it forces you to stretch your smartphone farther than your arm will allow, blurs your text messages for a couple hours, and the sun seems more bright and obnoxious than ever-even when you're sporting your sunglasses. Trust me- the annual dilated eye exam is completely worth it. I'll explain why it is especially helpful in detecting AMD.

After the eyes are dilated (the pupils are larger), the world in the back of the eye is revealed and ready to explore. With a light and lens, your doctor is able to view your macula- the pigment in the retina that is responsible for your clear central vision (sometimes with the help of glasses). AMD begins with subtle changes in that pigment. These pigment changes are very difficult to detect without the eyes being well-dilated. The changes are also difficult to detect if one goes in for his/her eye exam every 2-3+ years rather than the recommended annual recall.

What puts us at more risk for developing macular degeneration?

People of age 65 or older have increased risk. Obesity, certain wavelengths of blue light, and smoking have been known to increase risk of AMD development. Also, Caucasian women are more likely to develop AMD than males or those of a non-Caucasian race.

Studies have show that vitamins: C, E, lutein/zeaxanthin, and zinc help maintain good macular health. Incorporating dark green leafy veggies and low-fat foods in your diet will also be helpful in preventing AMD.

If discovered early enough, AMD can be treated and the rate of central vision loss can be slowed down dramatically.

Visit our website or call today to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. Your eye doctor will assess your external and internal ocular health and be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about eye diseases such as Macular Degeneration.

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