Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)

Age-Related Macular Degeneration is a common health condition of older adults that few people know much about.  It is one of those conditions that people tend to learn about only after a loved one or they themselves have been diagnosed with it.  Here is an overview of Age-Related Macular Degeneration or ARMD and what you need to know about this condition.

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-Related Macular Degeneration is a condition that is one of the most common reasons for loss of vision in older adults.  For individuals who are 50 years old or older, this is a typical health problem that affects the eyes.  It affects the macula, the portion of the eye that is responsible for clear sight.  Over time, ARMD can cause the macula to degenerate to the point where a great deal of vision is lost.

This condition does not progress at the same rate in all people who are afflicted with it.  For some, vision loss may be quick in one or both eyes, while for others this process of vision loss may carry our for many years.  The vision loss ends with the result of everyday tasks becoming nearly impossible. Simple tasks include recognizing faces, driving, and reading.  Vision is not completely lost with this condition and the individual will still possess the ability to see with peripheral or side vision.

What Are The Risk Factors For Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

This condition occurs most of the time in people who are over 50 years of age and chances in diagnoses increases with age.  Smoking is one risk factor; people who smoke have twice the risk of experiencing Age-Related Macular Degeneration.  Race is also a factor, Caucasians have a much greater risk than individuals who are of African descent.  The most significant risk factor for this condition is simply having a family history of the condition.  If you have had family members with ARMD then your risk is higher.

How Do You Find Out If You Have This Condition?

First of all, you should know that the preliminary stages of this condition often does not show any symptoms at all. So no symptoms does not mean that you are in the clear.  To detect this condition you will need a comprehensive dilated eye exam, this type of comprehensive exam may include a visual acuity test, dilated eye exam, Amsler grid, and a fluorescein angiogram.

An eye care professional will give you more information about how you can proceed if you do indeed have Age-Related Macular Degeneration.  There may be treatments available or lifestyle changes that you can make in order to effectively cope with the condition.  Your eye care professional will also be able to tell you what symptoms you should be expecting with your situation.  Finally, your Eye Doctor will let you know what symptoms should have you returning for further evaluation and possible treatment.

What Are The Incidence And Prevalence Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

The incidence is 200,000.  This means that 200,000 individuals each year develops this condition.  The prevalence is 1.75 million.  This means that 1.75 million individuals in the United States currently have Age-Related Macular Degeneration and this number is expected to climb to 3 million by the year 2020.  This massive jump is caused in part because of the ageing of the population in the United States.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration or ARMD is a common condition and it is not difficult to understand once you have the right information.  Awareness of the condition will allow you to seek out the proper testing and medical care.  Just remember that some treatments are available and if you seek them out then they may be able to help you.

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