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Have You Been Diagnosed with Macular Degeneration? Now What?

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First things first: take a deep breath—it will be okay. Macular degeneration is usually slow, and there is no need to panic.

The following blog post should be an informative and instructional resource for your reference.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that affects your macula and central vision. It is the leading cause of blindness in North American adults over 50. 

The macula is responsible for detailed vision for reading, driving, and recognizing people’s faces. AMD can progress slowly in some individuals and rapidly in others.

There are 2 types of AMD: dry and wet. 

  • Dry AMD is the most common form, accounting for 90% of all cases. It is the milder form that generally develops slowly over time. However, dry AMD can develop into wet AMD at any time. 
  • Wet AMD is less common and accounts for 10% of all cases. It is characterized by leakage and bleeding of weak blood vessels under the macula, and symptoms progress rapidly. If you have wet AMD, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist. 

What Are the Symptoms of AMD? 

In the early stages of AMD, you’ll likely have no symptoms

As AMD progresses, the most common initial symptom is blurred central vision, particularly noticeable when performing tasks that require detail, such as reading. Glasses cannot correct this blurred spot. 

In the intermediate stages, the blurred area may increase and interfere with daily activities such as driving. 

Other symptoms of AMD include straight lines appearing wavy or distorted and dark spots or missing areas in vision. In its later stages, there is a complete loss of central detailed vision. 

Patients experience no pain with AMD.

What Are AMD Risk Factors? 

  • Increased age
  • Sun exposure
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Cardiovascular disease

How Can I Prevent AMD or Slow It Down?  

  • Wear UV protective glasses or sunglasses. Please read labels and look for sunglasses that block 60–92% of visible light and UVA rays and between 95–99% of UVB rays.
  • Supplement your diet with vitamins. Vision Essence Early Defence is an excellent source of the 3 macular carotenoids and is vegan and zinc-free. Taking high-quality omega 3s (like PRN) is also important. Once you have moderate AMD, AREDS2 formulation (like Vitalux Advanced) is recommended. But if you are or were a smoker, you must avoid beta carotene due to an increased risk of lung cancer.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants. Vitamins C and E, copper, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega 3 are eye-friendly antioxidants in fruits and leafy greens.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking is a significant risk factor for AMD and can significantly speed up the progression of the disease.
  • Keep your blood pressure under control and try to attain a healthy BMI. High blood pressure and obesity are linked to an increased risk of AMD.
  • Monitor your eyes at home with an Amsler grid as the disease progresses.
  • Have routine eye examinations with ocular coherence tomography (OCT) imaging. These exams allow your optometrist to determine the extent and progression of the disease.

What Treatments Are There for AMD?

There is no current standard treatment for dry AMD. Photobiomodulation and electrical microcurrent stimulation are exciting areas of development in Canada.  

For wet AMD, ophthalmologists provide intraocular injections of anti-VEGF.

Any Further Questions?

Your optometrist is an invaluable resource for helping you make informed decisions about your ocular health. Our Collingwood Optometry and Cwood Eyecare teams are skilled, experienced, and here to help you every step of the way. Please make an appointment today!

Written by Collingwood Optometry

Collingwood Optometry is proud to have served the Collingwood community for over 55 years. We care for the community’s vision and are determined to give the appropriate and unique treatment needed. We prioritize knowledge, education, and a commitment to making continuous strides to improve our technology and techniques.

Through our blogs, we intend to provide open guidance to help our readers better understand their eye problems.

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Collingwood Optometry

We’re located right off Hume Street across from Collingwood General and Marine Hospital. If you have any trouble finding us, please give us a call.

  • 460 Hume St. Unit 1
  • Collingwood, Ontario L9Y 1W6

CWood Eyecare

Find us off Hurontario Street, just down from Collingwood’s Town Hall. If you have any trouble finding us, please give us a call.

  • 115 Hurontario St. Suite 203
  • Collingwood, Ontario L9Y 2L9

Municipal parking available on Hurontario Street or Ste Marie Street

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