Macular Degeneration, also known as Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is a disease that affects central vision. As one of the top leading causes of blindness in developed countries, it is important to be aware of this condition.
In conjunction with the upcoming AMD awareness week, we will be sharing more about this degeneration.
What is ARMD?
ARMD is the deteriorating of the macula due to age. What it means essentially is that with ageing, the macula, that provides us our central vision may undergo some changes that causes blurred central vision.
At its end stage, the patient may no longer be able to see things that are within his/her central vision.
Who does it affect?
As implied in it's name, this disease typically affects people above the age of 55.
Other factors that may cause a higher risk is as follows:
- Family history: if other members of family have ARMD, there is increased risk
- Smoking: smoking Tobacco increases the risk of ARMD by 2-3 times
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): higher BP may cause an increased risk towards later stages of ARMD
- High Cholesterol: this also causes an increased risk of ARMD
- Obesity and Fat intake: certain types of fats may increase risk of ARMD
How to tell if I have it?
Unfortunately, ARMD does not have symptoms in the early and intermediate stages. Significant visual change only occurs nearing the later stages.
However, with a detailed eye examination, signs of the disease can be detected. For instance, signs include decreased visual acuity, irregular amsler results, abnormal fundus photo and 3D macula scan.
In later stages, you will experience blurring in vision that cannot be corrected with glasses. In fact, you will feel that your vision is distorted. However, if only 1 eye has late-stage ARMD, you may not notice any blurring until it's too late to salvage your vision!
How do I prevent ARMD from occurring?
ARMD sounds like a scary disease, especially with no cure for the lost vision. However, when detected early, we can prevent any worsening of the disease.
Keeping yourself fit and healthy is key to preventing any diseases. Exercising, having a healthy diet and ceasing smoking will not only avoid getting ARMD, but also lower the risk of getting other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart diseases.
Regular health checks are recommended so that any developing health issues can be controlled at early stages.
Frequent eye examinations are important to detect any symptoms of ARMD, or any other diseases. It doesn't mean that good vision equates to a healthy eye so make your your way down to your local optometrists for an appointment soon!
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