Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among Americans age 60 and older. Although AMD does not cause blindness, it is a common cause of low vision, which is partial loss of eyesight that can make everyday tasks difficult or even dangerous. In honor of AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month, the eye team at Island Eye Surgicenter shares information on AMD and helpful tips for people living with low vision.
AMD is characterized by the breakdown of the eye’s macula (the central part of the retina), causing gradual vision loss. Symptoms of AMD include blurry or distorted vision, trouble recognizing people’s faces, blurry or blank spots in central vision and difficulty seeing when going from bright light to low light conditions. Everyone can develop AMD but research has found that people with a higher risk include those who are over age 60, obese, have a family history of AMD, smoke or have high blood pressure. As AMD and low vision progress, daily activities like reading can become difficult or frustrating while driving can become dangerous.
Tips on How to Live with Low Vision
Although living with low vision can be difficult, there are several ways to make everyday life easier. Consider the following:
- Keep rooms evenly lit to allow your eyes to adapt easier from room to room.
- Place a reading lamp near your chair to make reading and other close-up activities easier.
- Reduce glare by placing light fixtures throughout the room.
- Use high contrast for reading and writing on the computer.
- Purchase a tablet or e-reader, which research has shown to be very useful for people with low vision.
- Use a hand-held magnifier to read newspapers and books.
Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam
Currently there is no cure for AMD but early detection and treatment are essential in saving vision. An eye doctor can diagnose AMD following an eye exam. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends people between age 45 and 60 have a dilated eye exam every two years and people over age 60 get their eyes checked once a year.
To learn more about AMD or to schedule an eye exam, please call (516) 877-2400 today.