AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the US for those 65 and older. Over 48 million Americans suffer from AMD and that number is projected to almost double to 88 million by 2050. AMD destroys the sharp, clear central vision needed to see clearly. It can be devastating and almost impossible to read books, see what is on your computer or phone, read a newspaper, drive your car, watch television, or even see the faces of loved ones.
Dr. Lymer diagnoses and works with patients to manage their macular degeneration. There is no cure for AMD, but if caught early enough, the chances of advancing to the severe stages can be decreased to only 10-20% of cases (Maculogic 2020). The key is diagnosing the disease early.
Lymer Vision was the fourth eye care facility in the state of Colorado, and the first in Colorado Springs, to invest in advanced diagnostic equipment allowing Dr. Lymer to diagnose AMD up to three years in advance of vision loss.
The Following are Risk Factors for Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Age - The number one risk factor is age. 6.5% of adults over the age of 40 and one-third of adults over 75 are affected by AMD.
- Smoking - Smoking increases a person’s chances of developing AMD by two to fivefold. Because the retina has a high rate of oxygen consumption, anything that affects oxygen delivery to the retina may affect vision. Smoking causes oxidative damage, which may contribute to the development and progression of this disease.
- Family History of AMD - A person is more likely to develop AMD if someone in his or her immediate family has had it.
- Gender - Females are more likely to develop AMD than males. This factor may be because females live longer than males, and thus have more time to develop the disease.
- Race - Caucasians are more likely to develop AMD than other races. This factor may be related to differences in genetic background or pigmentation.
- Prolonged Sun Exposure - Although the evidence is not conclusive, some studies suggest an association between AMD and cumulative eye damage from ultraviolet (UV) and other light. This light may damage the retina and increase the risk of AMD.
- Diet - People with diets that are elevated in fat, cholesterol, and high glycemic index foods, and low in antioxidants and green leafy vegetables may be more likely to develop AMD. High-glycemic index foods, such as white rice, bread, and pasta raise blood sugar rapidly, whereas low-glycemic foods, such as whole-grain bread or oatmeal can lower the risk of AMD by stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- Obesity - A person with a BMI (body mass index, a measure of body fat) of greater than 30 is 2.5 times more likely to develop the disease than a person with a lower BMI.
- High Blood Pressure - High blood pressure, like smoking, leads to a constriction (narrowing) of the blood vessels that nourish the retina, restricting oxygen flow.
- Eye Color - People with light-colored eyes are more likely to develop the dry type of AMD. This factor may be because light-pigmented eyes offer less protection from damaging UV light.
- Inactivity - In dry AMD, the retina does not receive adequate oxygen, leading to the death of cells in the macula. Exercise improves cardiovascular health and might help prevent AMD.
- Presence of AMD in One Eye - If a person has AMD in one eye, he or she is more likely to develop it in the opposite eye.
If you have a family member with AMD, or are overweight, or are a smoker or have smoked in the past, or any combination, you are at a higher risk for developing AMD (Bright Focus Foundation).
Any Concerns or Questions, We Can Help
If you have any family history or just want to be sure you do not have AMD, call our office today or you can schedule online and text us from www.lymervision.com. Dr. Lymer will evaluate the health of your eyes and your vision to determine if you AMD as well as the appropriate treatment.