February is Age-related Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month! Unless you or someone you know is struggling with AMD, likely, you don't know what it is. For a common eye disease that affects over 100 million people around the world, few people are actually aware of it!
February is also the month of Valentine’s Day which means showing extra love to those we care about! It's a great opportunity to confront and address this global problem while pushing our friends and family to discuss the reality of vision loss so they can prevent it!
AMD stands for Age-related Macular Degeneration. This eye condition attacks the macula, the most sensitive part of the retina, causing irreversible vision loss.
The macula is a part of the retina that is responsible for clear, sharp vision. It has a strong concentration of about 200 million photoreceptor cells that help the eye detect light and see colors brightly.
When the macula starts to wear down, clear vision is affected. Individuals might develop a blurry spot at the center of their vision. This spot might spread or turn gray. In other instances, other black spots might develop.
As the name suggests, AMD is most common in those over 50 years old. But it's not just age that raises your chances of getting the disease.
Some things that are linked to AMD are out of your control, like the genes that your parents passed down to you. Others, like smoking, diet, or high blood pressure, are things you can do something about.
Approximately 11 million individuals are affected with AMD in the United States (U.S.) alone, with a global prevalence of 170 million. AMD is thereby the leading cause of visual disability in the industrialized world and the third leading cause globally [1–3]
The eyesight of people with this condition worsens with increased degeneration. AMD doesn't make a person blind; however, it causes low vision that leaves them unable to carry out their daily activities.
AMD is irreversible and has no cure; however, you can prevent it or slow it down if it is discovered early.
Early AMD does not show any noticeable symptoms, and detection in this stage is difficult. However, it can be detected using specific tests.
Intermediate AMD is easier to see because symptoms may show. An eye doctor can detect it by the number of drusen in the eye.
In the late stages of AMD, symptoms are apparent, and it is easily detected by tests.
There are two types of AMD, dry and wet. The dry type is more common, but it usually progresses slowly (over years). The wet type is less common, found in 10-15% of MD cases, but more likely to cause a relatively sudden change in vision resulting in serious vision loss.
It is difficult to know when one has early and immediate AMD because symptoms don't show up early. Only specialized tests can show AMD in these stages. Some tests for detection of AMD include:
Medical experts are not sure exactly what causes AMD, but some factors that may increase your risk of developing it are:
If you are at risk for any of the factors, it's important to visit your eye doctor regularly. But most importantly, do what you can to take care of your eyes daily! This includes eating healthy, exercising, and protecting your eyes from harmful blue light.
As we age, the protective layers on our retinas diminish, leaving us even more exposed to blue light rays. This exposure can cause AMD, and it can also aggravate it for those who already have it.
Dr. Lite is the first and only company to offer a medical-grade, doctor-recommended line of products designed to keep eyes healthy and prevent damage caused by harmful blue light exposure. Clients around the world who experience macular degeneration symptoms have seen a drastic improvement in their visual acuity, contrast, and mobility with the help of our lamps.
Whether your goal is to prevent AMD or slow down the progress of the disease for yourself or someone you love, living under eye-safe lighting is one of the most important steps we can take to preserve our sight.
Every month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recognizes one or more observances dedicated to raising awareness about important eye health topics. National months of recognition are so important because they draw attention to important health issues such as AMD and increase knowledge of prevention and treatment while promoting continued research.
February is Low Vision Awareness and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) month. Although there is currently no known cure for AMD, awareness of this irreversible condition in recent years has brought us so much new information about AMD so we can understand what it is, how to reduce our risk and what technology is available to prevent or slow down the effects.
AMD — short for Age-Related Macular Degeneration — is the leading cause of low vision and blindness in Americans aged 50 years and older and affects 1.6 million Americans.
AMD is a progressive disease with no known cure. It’s known for slowly stealing an unknowing patients’ vision as it affects the retina, the paper-thin tissue lining the back of your eye, and causes the cells in the area to die. As a result, people with AMD may see blind spots and other distortions in the very center frame of their vision.
For example, this is what the view looks like for someone with healthy vision:
For people with AMD, the view is much different
There two types of AMD are dry and wet. The dry form is more common than the wet form, with about 90 percent of AMD patients diagnosed with dry AMD. Although they are both serious, the wet form of the disease usually leads to more severe vision loss.
At first (and for a long time) you may not have any signs of AMD at all, so people may not even know they have it. That’s why it’s so important to have regular appointments with your eye doctor to stay on top of your eye health. This gives your doctor the chance to catch the disease early so treatment can be started to slow the disease.
Once the disease has progressed, patients report large blind spots, sensitivity to glare, fuzzy vision, and distortion of sight making it hard to read your favorite books, enjoy hobbies and recognize your loved ones.
While the causes of Age-related Macular Degeneration are complex, we know that being over the age of 60 and having a family history of AMD play a major role in someone’s likelihood of developing the condition.
The good news is that several of the risk factors of AMD are controllable. For example, smoking, being overweight and having high blood pressure all increase a person’s risk for AMD. Therefore, taking care of your eye health is essential in lowering your chances of developing the disease.
Unknown to many, blue light plays a major part in aggravating Macular Degeneration, which is why many choose to use protective glasses and blue light safe lighting and technology to help slow down the progression of MD.
Dr. Lite is the first and only company to offer a medical-grade, doctor-recommended line of products designed to keep eyes healthy and prevent damage caused by harmful blue light exposure. Clients around the world who experience macular degeneration symptoms have seen a drastic improvement in their visual acuity, contrast, and mobility with the help of Dr. Lite Lamps.
Every day we help those with AMD live happy and healthy lives by getting them back to reading, watching TV and seeing the faces of their loved ones. If you or someone you know is living with low vision or has a high risk of developing AMD, please accept our 35% off low vision month sale and give them the gift of clarity with Dr. Lite Lamps.