A common concern among men and women who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is whether the disease can cause full blindness. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. While you may retain some peripheral vision, macular degeneration can cause functional and legal blindness, and in fact it is the leading cause of blindness in older men and women.
The good news is that not everyone who suffers from macular degeneration will reach the point of full blindness. When caught early enough, lifestyle and nutrition changes can be enough to significantly slow its progression, and while there are currently no FDA approved treatments for dry macular degeneration, there are still options available. Make sure to visit your ophthalmologist regularly so that they can monitor your eye health and make recommendations to help preserve your vision.
If you would like to make an appointment with Kirk Eye Center, call us at 708-397-8114 today. We serve patients in Chicago, River Forest, Oak Park, Cicero, Naperville, and other nearby areas of Illinois.
Preventing Macular Degeneration
Unfortunately, there is no real way to prevent macular degeneration. However, you can lower your risk factor for developing the disease through following recommendations for leading a healthy lifestyle, including:
- Maintain a stable and healthy weight
- Eat a diet high in vegetables, fruits, fatty fish, and whole grains
- Cut back on red meat
- Do not smoke
- Exercise regularly, even if it's just going for a walk a few times a day
- Wear sunglasses outside
If you are diagnosed with intermediate stage AMD, certain supplements may help to prevent or slow progression to late stage AMD. Our eye doctors will let you know what your options are during your eye exam.
What to Do If Your Vision Changes
Early stage AMD may not cause any deterioration of vision at all, which is why it is so important to visit an experienced eye doctor regularly, especially as you get older. We can detect the signs of early AMD and recommend steps to take to help prevent the disease from becoming worse.
If you notice any changes in your vision, including blind spots, dark spots, distortion, or difficulty focusing on objects or people, visit Kirk Eye Center as soon as possible. The earlier AMD is caught, the more likely it is that your vision may be able to be preserved.
There are two forms of AMD, called "dry" and "wet." Dry macular degeneration is by far the most common, and luckily is the slowest to progress. However, wet macular degeneration can develop at any time, and can cause rapid vision loss. If you suspect something is wrong with your vision, see us right away, because there are treatment options available for wet AMD that can slow, halt, or even partially reverse vision loss.
If you are concerned about developing age related macular degeneration, or you have already been diagnosed with it and are looking for ways to manage it, don't hesitate to contact Kirk Eye Center at 708-397-8114 today.
We serve patients in the greater Chicago area, including River Forest, Oak Park, Cicero, and Naperville.