Understanding Age-Related Macular Degeneration – The Pennsylvania Association for the Blind is creating Awareness

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over the age of 55 and it roughly affects 2 million Americans.

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over the age of 55 and it roughly affects 2 million Americans. AMD occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. This disease, primarily associated with aging, gradually destroys sharp central vision needed for seeing objects clearly, and is used for common daily tasks, such as reading and driving. With the rapidly aging U.S. population, this number is projected to increase to almost 20 million by the year 2020.

Below is a list of known risk factors for AMD;

1.Smoking and Second-hand smoke


3.Race – Caucasians are much more likely to lose vision from AMD than African Americans

4.Gender – Of the more than 2 million Americans age 50 and older that have AMD, more than 1.3 million of those cases are women

5.Family History – Those who have immediate family members with AMD are at higher risk

6.Age – Although AMD can occur during middle age, studies show people over the age of 55 are at greater risk.

What are some things a person can do to decrease the risk of visual loss from macular degeneration?

1.Take vitamins (as directed by your primary care doctor or eye doctor) such as Macula Complete

2.Avoid tobacco products

3.Maintain a healthy diet rich in antioxidants

4.Wear polarized sunglasses for UV protection from the sun

5.Control blood pressure and cholesterol

6.Visit an eye care professional for a dilated eye exam on a regular basis

A status report by the World Health Organization shows that visual disorders, such as AMD, exceed respiratory disease, diarrheal disease, unipolar depressive disorder, ischemic heart disease, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes on the impact of the quality of life. That is why it is imperative that people get regular eye exams each year to prevent and preserve vision and improve the quality of life for those affected by age-related macular degeneration.

For more information on AMD visit http://www.pablind.org.

Contact: Katie Schock - PA Assn. f/t Blind Phone: 717-766-2020 Email: Katie.schock@pablind.org
Beaver Co. Assn. f/t Blind, Berks Co. Assn. f/t Blind, Blair/Clearfield Assn. f/t Blind, Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, Bucks Co. Assn. f/t Blind, Butler Co. Assn. f/t Blind, Cambria Co. Assn. f/t Blind & Handicapped, Center f/t Blind & Visually Impaired, Central Susquehanna Sight Services, Center for Vision Loss, Chester Co. Assn. f/t Blind, Fayette Co. Assn. f/t Blind, ForSight Vision, Greater Wilkes-Barre Assn. f/t Blind, Hazleton Blind Assn., Indiana Co. Blind Assn., Keystone Blind Assn., Lackawanna Branch –PAB, Lawrence Co. Assn. f/t Blind, Montgomery Co. Assn. f/t Blind, North Central Sight Services, Nu Visions Center, South Central Blind Assn., Susquehanna Association f/t Blind & Vision Impaired, Tri-County Assn. f/t Blind, Venango Co. Assn. f/t Blind, The Sight Center of Northwest PA, Washington-Greene Assn. f/t Blind, Westmoreland Co. Blind Assn.

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Katie Schock
Pennsylvania Association for the Blind
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