Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk Factors
Tomorrow, February 1 marks the beginning of National Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness (AMD) Month. AMD is a progressive eye condition affecting as many as 15 million Americans and millions more around the world. The disease attacks the macula of the eye, where our sharpest central vision occurs.
AMD: 4 Key Facts*
- Leading cause of vision loss among people age 50+
- Smoking doubles the risk
- Family history & genetics
*More information can be found at the National Eye Institute www.nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts
I do not have macular degeneration, however, I lost my sight to macular holes which essentially has destroyed my central vision. In my case when looking straight ahead, there is an opaque dark gray circle right smack in the middle of my remaining vision. Because of this, I can no longer drive, read regular size print, recognize faces and it’s challenging to do many things I used to take for granted. Even with the losses I’ve experienced, there’s been an equal amount of gains and it’s so good to know life doesn’t stop when we reach a roadblock. We just find another route.
Because of my personal experience with sight loss, it’s important to me to urge everyone I know to take care of your sight especially if you are at a higher risk of developing a specific condition. What I’ve learned with central vision loss is when only one eye is affected the loss may not be detected until it’s progressed to the point of no return. In many people, this type of sight loss occurs slowly but in others, it can happen rapidly.
Image: Abigail (Abby) is in the background of the text with her white cane and handbag.