Guest Author: Dr. Edward Hugget
What is the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss in Americans over 50? What is present in approximately 30% of people over the age of 75? What can you be born with and as you age the chances of you getting it increase?
It is known as AMD.
There are two types of AMD, the dry type and the wet type. Both may cause vision loss and progress to legal blindness. Dry AMD accounts for almost 90% of cases. The disappointing news is there is no FDA approved medication for treating dry AMD. Early detection is critical in the management of AMD. Detection is done via an eye exam that includes eye drops that dilate your eyes and the eye doctor looks into the eye to inspect the retina. This is known as a “dilated eye exam.” Sometimes people will have symptoms and see signs that they have AMD prior to their eye examination. These signs are primarily from early degeneration of the retina.
This degeneration is so very subtle in the early stages that a person may feel they see normally but see distortions of straight lines or missing parts of words when they read, not seeing parts of a persons face or needing more light than normal to read.
Five early symptoms that a person may have AMD or another eye disease:
- Straight lines (telephone poles, window blinds, etc.) are distorted (appearing bent, crooked, etc.)
- Parts of words are missing.
- Parts of a person’s face you are looking at may appear to be missing.
- Needing more light than normal to read.
- You struggle reading material that you didn’t have to struggle with in the past.
Any one of the symptoms above may indicate AMD or another eye disease. Of course, a person may have no symptoms and yet still have AMD, so a dilated eye examination is recommended to determine the presence or not of AMD and to prevent or slow the progression of this disease.
Optometrists and ophthalmologists in the US are licensed to examine and diagnose AMD. Once diagnosed treatment of AMD is most often performed by an ophthalmologist that is specially trained as a retinal specialist.
Dr. Lite lamps are specially designed to produce less of the blue end of the visible light spectrum that has been implicated in contributing to eye diseases including AMD and cataracts. Use a Dr. Lite lamp wherever you have artificial lighting in your home or office!