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Westwood, NJ 07675

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Home » Eye Health » Eye Diseases » Macular Degeneration » Symptoms & Risk Factors of Macular Degeneration

Symptoms & Risk Factors of Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration can cause low vision and debilitating vision loss, even blindness if not diagnosed and treated in the early stages. Because the disease often has no obvious symptoms early on, it is critical to have regular comprehensive eye exams, particularly if you are at risk.

Symptoms of AMD

Macular degeneration is a disease in which the macula slowly breaks down, resulting in a gradual progressive vision loss, at least in its’ early stages. Frequently there are no symptoms and the disease is only diagnosed when a doctor detects signs such as a thinning macula or the presence of drusen in a comprehensive eye examination. Early vision loss can include blurry, cloudy or distorted central vision or dark spots in your central field of view. With advanced stages, vision loss can be severe and sudden with larger blind spots and total loss of central vision.

Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration

Age is the most prominent risk factor for AMD, as the disease is most common in individuals over the age of 60 (although it can happen in younger individuals as well). Other risk factors can increase your chances of developing the disease such as:

  • Genetics and Family History: Research shows that there are actually almost 20 genes that have been linked to AMD, and they suspect that there are many more genetic factors to be discovered. Family history greatly increases your chances of developing AMD.
  • Race: Caucasians are more likely to get AMD than Hispanics or African-Americans.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoking can double your likelihood of developing AMD.
  • Lifestyle: Research shows that UV exposure, poor nutrition, high blood pressure, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can also be contributing factors.
  • Gender: Females have a higher incidence of AMD than males.
  • Medications: Certain medications may increase the chances of developing AMD.

To reduce your risks of developing AMD it is recommended to make healthy choices such as:

    • Regular eye exams; once a year especially if you are 50 or over.
    • Stop smoking.
    • Know your family history and inform your eye doctor.

 

  • Proper nutrition and regular exercise: Research indicates that a healthy diet rich in “Eyefoods” with key nutrients for the eyes such as orange peppers, kale and spinach as well as regular exercise may reduce your risks or slow the progression of AMD.
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
  • Dietary supplements: Studies by the National Eye Institute called AREDs and ARED2 indicated that a high dosage of supplements of zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and lutein may slow the progression of advanced dry AMD (it is not recommended for those without AMD or early AMD). Speak to a doctor before taking these supplements because there may be associated risks involved.
  • Wear 99% -100% UV-blocking sunglasses.

 

The first step to eye health is awareness. By knowing your risk, taking preventative measures and visiting your eye doctor on a regular basis, you can greatly reduce your chances of facing this debilitating disease.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: PLEASE READ ENTIRE MESSAGE

Valley Eye Associates is OPEN for all patients and appointment types.

 

Below are the safety protocols that have been put in place for all visiting patients:

  1. All equipment is cleaned with 70% isopropyl alcohol before and after each use.
  2. A protective plastic shield has been installed at the front check in area.
  3. Upon arrival each patient will need their temperature checked with a non-contact thermometer.
  4. We will use our online check-in form as well as requiring any insurance cards or documents to be sent to us via text/email if possible.
  5. All payments can be made with credit card by phone.
  6. All visitors will be required to wear a face covering or mask at all times. You will NOT be allowed to enter without wearing one.
  7. All pick-ups, adjustments, and other visits will require an appointment time. This is needed so that we know when to expect you and can distance you from anyone else.
  8. Please come at your scheduled time. If you arrive too early you may have to wait in your car. If you arrive too late for us to perform the necessary tests for your exam you may have to be rescheduled.
  9. Frames that are tried on must be put into a separate box. Frames are disinfected by saturating in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution for a minimum of 10 minutes, dried, and then stored for 3 days before being put on display.

Feel free to call us at 201-664-0847 during our business hours or visit our website at www.2020nj.com to reschedule your appointment.

Thank you.