February is AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month and the perfect time to share some important
facts about Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
AMD is a leading cause of vision loss—affecting more than two million Americans, age 50 and
older. This number continues to increase due to the lack of awareness surrounding this eye
disease which harms central vision and limits a person’s ability to read, write, and recognize
The good news is that you can protect your sight with routine eye exams and some lifestyle
changes. New treatments and protective steps can help people with AMD avoid vision loss.
Here are the eight Important AMD facts you should know
1. Easy warning signs are subtle and easy to miss
You may not notice any changes to your eyes in the early stages of AMD. However, any
early diagnosis allows time for treatment. Your best defense is to get a comprehensive
eye exam, even if you don’t sense you need eye glasses or contacts. The American
Academy of Ophthalmology urges adults with no symptoms to have an eye exam at
least by age 40. After age 65, it’s important to get an eye exam every one to two years.
But, don’t wait until age 40 if you notice a problem with your eyesight.
2. AMD family history can increase your risk
Knowing your family history and sharing this information with your eye doctor is
important. If you have a close family member with AMD, you have a greater risk of
getting the disease.
3. Macular Degeneration vision loss can’t be reversed, but you can save your remaining
Due to major advances in treatment, fewer people experience blindness from macular
degeneration. Sight-saving options are available to treat wet AMD.
4. In some cases, vitamins have shown to slow macular degeneration
Clinical trials have shown that vitamins for AMD, such as AREDS 2, can help treat
intermediate or advanced AMD in one eye. However, trials do not show that they
5. Smoking is shown to increase your risk of AMD
Studies have found that you are twice as likely to get AMD compared to a nonsmoker.
Smoking cigarettes can increase the risks of getting AMD and the speed at which the
6. Daily vision checks at home can be effective for monitoring AMD progression
The Amsler grid is a simple chart that people with dry AMD can use at home to check
any vision changes. Learn how to use the Amsler grid and track progression.
7. Certain foods have shown to decrease your risk of AMD
Studies have shown that food rich in omega-3 fatty acids are good for eye health and
can reduce the risk of AMD—but not when taken as supplements. These foods include
cold-water fish (like salmon and tuna), citrus fruits, kale, spinach, corn, broccoli, squash,
and black-eyed peas. Other nutrients shown to help eye health are lutein, zeaxanthin,
zinc, and vitamin C.
8. Protect your vision with regular exercise
Many studies show that getting regular exercise can benefit your eyes, reducing your
risk of getting all stages of AMD and exercising three times a week has proven to reduce
the risk of getting wet AMD by 70%.
For the full article, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology website.