AMD is a common disease of the eye. You may not have heard of it, but AMD is the number one cause of vision loss in Canada and affects over one million people nationally.
AMD affects the macula, a sensitive part of the retina in your eye. The macula is responsible for sharp, clear vision. In people with AMD, the macula breaks down, sometimes causing them to have trouble reading, driving or recognizing faces. AMD can be mild or severe, and it can progress slowly or quickly.
Other symptoms of AMD are blurry vision, vision loss, seeing wavy lines in place of straight ones, a blind spot in the centre of your vision, difficulty telling colours apart and trouble seeing things far away.
Who gets AMD?
AMD is most common in people over 50 years of age. It is the leading cause of age-related vision loss, and as you get older, your risk of AMD increases. Other things that raise your risk of getting AMD include smoking, having high blood pressure, being Caucasian, eating junk food, consuming a lot of red meat and having a history of AMD in your family.
Can AMD be prevented?
There is no cure for AMD, and no one knows whether it can be prevented, but it’s a good idea to manage your risk. Recent studies show you may be able to lower your risk of AMD if you do these things:
- Get your vision checked regularly
- Don’t smoke
- Eat more leafy green vegetables and fish
- Limit your intake of junk food
- Eat red meat only in moderation
- Wear sunglasses when out in the sun
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Take a multivitamin daily
Smokers are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop AMD.