February is a great month for health awareness from Valentine’s Day to American Heart Health Month. It’s still early in the year to recall those NY resolutions and check in and see how you’re doing (and never to late to get back on them ?). It’s also national AMD (Age related macular degeneration) awareness month which is super exciting for me because as a Retinal specialist this is the leading cause of vision loss that I treat. I’ll be doing a series of posts to encourage everyone to give your vision the same attention you would to your ❤️ health.
I’ll be answering questions like: What is AMD? Who is at risk? What treatments are available? How can I prevent or lower my risk of AMD?
So let’s dive in…
What is AMD?
It’s a disease that affects the macula (part of your retina), which is the portion of your vision responsible for your central and clearest vision. It can cause progressive loss of vision, usually after the ages of 60-70. Patients may experience a dark spot in the center of their vision, distortions, or wavy lines.
Who is at risk?
• Those with a family history of AMD
•Gender: women are more likely to develop AMD than men
•Skin and Eye color: People with lighter skin and eye color
•Those with a history of smoking
•UV ray exposure (especially welders)
•High blood pressure, High cholesterol, and Obesity
Currently there are no large studies done in humans regarding blue light exposure and risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (see @drhelen2020 recent post). Studies have shown a large amount of blue light exposure in mouse models may induce damage to retinal cells but at this point we do not know how that translates into human biology.
Even though AMD affects those >age 60, it can come from a lifetime of exposure to risk factors. Reducing those risk factors as much as possible earlier in your life can impact your future eye heath. By the time I’ve seen patients, they typically need treatments with in-office injections and risk factor reduction has minimal effect in the advanced stages.
Feel free to leave any questions/comments below⬇️ #boquetofveggies