Age-related Macular Degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness among seniors, affecting approximately 2.1 million people nationwide. By 2050, it is expected that the number will more than double to 5.4 million. People may be putting themselves at unnecessary risk of vision loss by neglecting to have sight-saving eye exams. Throughout February, UCLA Stein Eye and Doheny Eye Institutes join the American Academy of Ophthalmology in emphasizing AMD awareness and encouraging those who are most at risk to ensure the health of their eyes by getting an eye exam from an ophthalmologist – a physician who specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions.
AMD is a degenerative disease that damages the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that receives focused images and relays information to the brain. Over time, retinal damage can lead to permanent loss of central vision, limiting the ability to drive, read and recognize faces.
There are two forms of AMD – wet and dry. While the dry form of AMD leads to gradual vision loss, the wet form progresses at a faster rate and is responsible for 90 percent of all AMD-related blindness. Recent advancements in treatment options have significantly decreased the incidence of blindness. However, it is critical to get diagnosed and begin treatment as soon as possible to protect vision.
The Academy recommends the following steps to help potentially avoid AMD and other eye diseases:
The UCLA Stein Eye and Doheny Eye Institutes offer leading-edge care for macular degeneration patients. For more information or to find an ophthalmologist near you, visit uclahealth.org/eye
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