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Ask the Experts: Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

By Dr. David Tremblay

I’ve just been diagnosed with macular degeneration and I’ve read there is no cure.
What do I need to know about living with this condition?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease affecting the central part of the retina called the macula. There are two forms of AMD, wet and dry, both of which can cause severe loss of your central vision. The more common dry form results in thinning of the retina and deposition of protein clumps called drusen. These changes lead to slow loss of vision and, unfortunately, is not treatable currently. Wet AMD is less common but can cause more rapid and severe vision loss secondary to the growth of small, leaky blood vessels that lead to bleeding and scarring in the retina. Wet AMD can be treated with a laser or injections of medicines into the eye.

Risk factors for AMD include diets high in saturated fats, obesity and smoking. A unique multivitamin called AREDS2 has been shown to slow the progression of dry AMD but does not prevent one from acquiring the disease and should only be taken if recommended by your eye doctor. For disease prevention, eat a diet full of green, leafy vegetables and wear UV-blocking sunglasses while outdoors.

Living with AMD can be difficult. If your central vision is severely impacted, a specialist in Low Vision can recommend tools or devices to help perform normal daily tasks such as magnifiers for reading or telescopes for driving. An occupational therapist can assess your home and advise on ways to improve navigation and safety.

The experienced eye care providers at Mann Eye Institute can guide you through your risk assessment and help protect your sight. Come see us today to See Life Better.

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