Age-Related Macular Degeneration: FAQ

central blind spotYour most common questions about age-related macular degeneration, answered!:

Who’s the most at risk for AMD?

Those over the age of 65 are at an automatic increased risk for macular degeneration. Those who smoke, are Caucasian, or have a family member with macular degeneration also have a greater risk for the disease.

How do I know if I have AMD?

Since AMD is often silent until its more advanced stages, one of the only ways to know if you have AMD before symptoms arise is to visit your optometrist for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. When your eyes are dilated, the optometrist is able to look at the macula and decipher whether there are signs (drusens) of macular degeneration.

As a rule of thumb, see an optometrist at least once a year. (Especially if you are 55 or older!)

I have been diagnosed with dry AMD. Will I end up with wet AMD eventually?

No, not necessarily. Actually, wet AMD only affects 10 % of those with the condition- and there is no guarantee that dry AMD will ever progress to the wet form.

Nevertheless, dry AMD can turn into the wet form without much warning. Use an Amsler grid daily to monitor your vision.

Note: With wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels begin to grow under the macula. Since these vessels tend to break easily, they leak blood and cause scar tissue, which pushes against the macula. Thus, damage and vision loss occur more rapidly.

Is macular degeneration painful?

No. All types of macular degeneration are completely painless. (This often allows the disease to go undetected for long periods of time.)

Will AMD cause me to go completely blind?

No. Macular degeneration does not cause total blindness. At its most destructive, macular degeneration damages central vision making it difficult to drive, watch television and read. Keep in mind, macular degeneration leaves peripheral vision intact.

How long until my central vision worsens substantially?

It depends. Macular degeneration progresses differently for different individuals. Without treatment, central vision usually diminishes over a period of several years. However, supplements such as MacuHealth have proven to be restorative of macular pigment and slow vision loss.

Can I have AMD in one eye and not the other?

Unfortunately, macular degeneration doesn’t typically affect just one eye. Over time, the other eye often begins to develop similar problems.

Is AMD preventable?

Yes. Like with most diseases, it is important to catch macular degeneration as early as possible. It is also important to be diligent about prevention measures early on, especially if the disease runs in your family or you have light-coloured eyes and skin. Taking a supplement with lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin can also be beneficial.

Other ways to help prevent AMD:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat plenty of dark, leafy veggies like spinach or kale
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy BMI
  • See your eye doctor at least once yearly; particularly if you’re 55 or older.
  • Always wear appropriate, quality sunglasses when outdoors. (Even during the winter months!)

If you have questions about macular degeneration, your condition or if you suspect you are at risk for the disease, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

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