February is AMD and Low Vision Awareness Month

February is Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness month. Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery. Although there are many age-related eye diseases and conditions that can lead to low vision, AMD is the leading cause for low vision in older adults.

Because age related macular degeneration (AMD) affects central vision, the area where your sharpest vision occurs, being able to do everyday tasks such as cooking, shopping, reading, fixing things, participating in sports, and driving become increasingly difficult. Building an awareness of AMD is an important part of maintaining healthy vision as you age.

Two Forms of AMD

There are two forms of AMD – dry eye and wet eye. Dry eye is the most common form of AMD.  According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form. You slowly lose central vision. There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.” The American Academy of Ophthalmology goes on to report that the wet form of AMD “is less common but much more serious. You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), “AMD happens very slowly in some people and faster in others. If you have early AMD, you may not notice vision loss for a long time. That’s why it’s important to get regular eye exams to find out if you have AMD.”

To maintain healthy vision over time, put these tips into practice starting now…

  • Sign up for and maintain a good vision insurance policy
  • Set up annual checkups with your eye doctor
  • Do Not Smoke
  • Eat and healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight
  • Protect your eyes from the sun with sunglasses and a hat
  • If you are older and suspect you are already having vision problems, try using the Amsler Grid to help you track your vision loss and keep your eye doctor informed

Taking care of your vision starting at an early age is critical to keeping your vision healthy over the long-term. To gain a little perspective on what it is like to live with low vision, hop over to the National Eye Institute and give their virtual reality experience a go.  

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