Know the Macular Degeneration (AMD) Risk Factors

Eye Care & Surgery Center NJ Bladeless LASIK Laser Cataract Surgeon Blog

Monday, February 2, 2015

Macular Degeneration (AMD): Know the Risks

Milton Kahn, MD, Retina Specialist

Age relatedmacular degeneration (AMD) continues to be the leading cause of visual impairment in the United States for people over age 65, affecting some 15 million people and remaining a leading cause of blindness in those aged 65 and older. Knowing your risk factors, being aware of your family history, and scheduling regular eye exam appointments with your eye doctor can help reduce your risks for vision loss from macular degeneration. The key to preventing vision loss from age related macular degeneration is early detection, diagnosis and treatment as recommended by your eye doctor. 

Know the Top AMD Risks
Ø  Being over the Age of 60
Ø  Having a Family History of AMD
Ø  Cigarette Smoking
Ø  Obesity
Ø  Hypertension

If you have any two of these risk factors, you should schedule an appointment with for a complete eye exam and evaluation. If necessary, we may recommend additional testing and suggest certain preventive measures which can reduce your risk of vision loss from this disorder.

Minimizing the Effects of AMD Risk Factors
Certain medical and lifestyle factors can be controlled or improved by patients being aware, compliant and diligent with recommendations. The key here is for patients over 50 to be aware of their risks such as any family history, prolonged daily use of aspirin, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, eating a fatty diet and other types of vascular disease. These are generally manageable. One way to reduce AMD risk is to quit smoking or never start. For patients at high risk for developing late stage AMD, taking a dietary supplement of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, has been shown to lower the risk of AMD advancing to advanced stages by 25 percent. Eating green leafy vegetables and reducing alcohol consumption are also helpful in preventing AMD. Other risk factors such as genetic factors cannot be changed. However, knowing your family medical history is one way to learn whether you may be genetically predisposed to a disease.

Be aware of the symptoms of Wet AMD as this type of age related macular degeneration causes the most rapid, serious and even catastrophic vision loss. Symptoms of Wet AMD can include sudden, noticeable loss or distortion of vision, such as seeing “wavy” lines, “distortion,” “bending of straight lines and objects-or even people’s faces looking distorted-which means that there may already be fluid of some type under the macula. This requires urgent attention and patients experiencing this need to see us immediately. If you experience any of these symptoms, please call our office right away and explain your symptoms and request an immediate appointment. Current treatments for Wet AMD provide an excellent chance of stopping vision loss and may actually restore some vision when macular degeneration develops. Earlier diagnosis of wet AMD gives a better chance of successful treatment with drug therapy, such as Lucentis® and Eylea® injections.

If you or someone you know has a question about age related macular degeneration risk factors or needs and eye exam for AMD, please call The Eye Care & Surgery Center at 908-789-8999, visit The Eye Care & Surgery Center or to schedule an appointment.

The EyeCare & Surgery Center is located at 592 Springfield Avenue, Westfield, New Jersey 07090, 10 Mountain Boulevard, Warren, New Jersey 07059 and 517 Route One South, Suite 1100, Iselin, New Jersey 08830, and is conveniently located for patients from throughout central and northern New Jersey.