The unfortunate reality is that as we age, certain parts of the body begin to deteriorate. And just like any other part of the body, when our eyes start to break down, it causes problems.
Age-related macular degeneration (or AMD) occurs when a small portion of the retina called the macula starts to deteriorate. AMD very seldom causes total blindness, but most of the time it does result in significant vision loss and can result in legal blindness.
The dry form of AMD is more common, making up roughly 90% of all cases. This form of the disease happens when yellowish deposits of fatty proteins called drusen build up in the macula, resulting in a gradual dimming of vision. When dry form AMD becomes very advanced, the light-sensitive cells around the macula can begin to die. In these cases, patients may experience “blind” spots in their central vision, or lose their central vision entirely.
Although wet form AMD only presents in about 10% of cases, it is usually the more serious of the two forms. Wet AMD develops when abnormal blood vessels grow in front of and around the macula. These blood vessels start to bleed, blurring and distorting the patient’s vision, often making straight lines appear wavy. Over time, the blood vessels form a scar, which can completely obstruct central vision.
The best way to uncover AMD is by booking an annual eye exam, so your optometrist can inspect the health and function of your eyes. Seniors should have their eyes examined once a year, every year.
The symptoms of AMD are usually so gradual, they go unnoticed until the damage is quite severe. Pay attention to any changes to your vision, and watch out for dark or blurry spots in the centre of your vision, or distortions of lines that are supposed to be straight. You may experience a dulling or distortion of colour as well.
If you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
Come see us for yourself. We’re located Kelowna’s Pandosy Village District, across from Raymer Elementary School.