Age-Related Macular Degeneration is a condition of the eyes that is the leading cause of vision loss in people ages 50 or over. Since February is National AMD Awareness month, here are some of the facts about AMD, and some great ways to help prevent it at a younger age.
What does AMD affect?
AMD affects the macula, which is a small spot in the center of the retina that helps us to see sharp and clear objects that are in our straight line of vision. The macula is made up of millions of cells in the center of the retina that translate light into the images we see with our brains. If this area is damaged or degenerated, the center of our vision can appear blurred or dark. With macular degeneration, the effects can be very slow or very rapid, depending on the specific case of the person affected.
What are some signs of Macular Degeneration?
People who suffer from macular degeneration can experience several symptoms, including:
- Blurred vision that gets increasingly worse
- Dark spots in the vision, especially in the center
- Objects appearing not as bright as they were before
- Straight lines that appear wavy
What are some of the risk factors?
As with a lot of degenerative conditions, AMD has several factors (modifiable and non-modifiable) that can make some people more susceptible than others, such as:
- Genetic history
- Obesity/Poor Diet
- Blue light absorption
While Caucasians and those with a history of AMD are more at risk to suffer from the condition, there are environmental causes that can potentially contribute.
Dr. Adam Berger, a renowned retinal specialist, tells us “The eye is a unique organ system. Other than your skin, the eye is the only organ in the body impacted by light, and as such is impacted by a phenomenon called photo-oxidation.” Eyes absorb light much like the skin, and it can be potentially damaging.
Don’t regular lenses protect our eyes from light?
Some light, yes. For years, eyewear has been designed to protect the eyes from ultraviolet light. But, the lenses and cornea absorb ultraviolet light long before it can reach the back of the eye. Blue light is different. Blue light is the highest energy light that reaches all the way back to the retina of the eye and can be a potentially harmful contributing factor to AMD.
What can I do to protect my eyes?
Fortunately, there are some modifications you can make to help lower your risk of AMD.
- Modify your diet to include more nutritious leafy green and brightly colored vegetables
- Stop smoking
- Protect your eyes from natural sunlight year-round by wearing sunglasses when outdoors.
Digital devices and artificial lighting (LEDs) emit a great deal of blue light, particularly at 455nm. Protect your eyes from potentially harmful indoor blue light with BluTech Lenses that filter out blue light, particularly at 455 nm, where it matters most