Macular Degeneration IllustrationMacular Degeneration

An Eye Condition Affecting Many Fort Lauderdale Area Elderly

Macular degeneration (also called age-related macular degeneration, or AMD) is a common eye disease that affects more than 10 million Americans including many seniors in the Fort Lauderdale area.

In fact, it is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. So, what exactly is AMD, and what can you do to treat it?

Read on to learn more about this condition from our Fort Lauderdale area board-certified optometrist, Dr. Jackie Schwartz.

What Is AMD?

Typically, this condition happens as the macula (the central part of your eye’s retina) degenerates over time, causing vision loss in the center of your field of vision. This can begin slowly, with mild blurriness in that area, then increase over time to become more severe. There are two types of this disease, “Wet Macular Degeneration” and “Dry”, which present differently, but in both cases, your vision will deteriorate as a result.

Who It Affects

The elderly is at the greatest risk of developing AMD, as it affects more than a third of people over the age of 75. However, other risk factors include:

  • Gender: about 2/3 of patients are women, perhaps because women tend to live longer than men.
  • Genetics: a family history of the disease increases your likelihood of developing it.
  • Smoking: risk is about 4 times higher for smokers compared to nonsmokers.
  • Heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure can also increase your likelihood of experiencing this condition.

This is why the seniors in our part of South Florida must be particularly cognizant of this condition and should undergo routine eye exams.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

If you are experiencing this condition, you may have some of the following symptoms:

  • Increased blurriness of vision, making it difficult to read
  • Blurriness, dark spots or white spots in the center of your vision
  • Straight lines may appear wavy (more rarely)
  • Color perception may appear to be different (more rarely)

Treatment

Although this condition cannot be reversed, several FDA-approved treatments exist that can slow its progression. These treatments range from medication to surgery, and a qualified professional can help you understand the specifics of your condition and what treatment may be right for you.

If you are in the Fort Lauderdale area and you are experiencing these symptoms, contact Dr. Schwartz to learn more about your treatment options.

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