Age-Related Macular Degeneration Expected To Increase To Almost 3 million Cases By 2020
Macular Degeneration (AMD) is still not a commonly known affliction,
yet approximately 1.65 million Americans age 50 and older have the
disease, according to the Vision Problems in the U.S. report, published
by Prevent Blindness America. And according to The Archives of
Ophthalmology, these numbers are expected to grow to 2.95 million cases
by the year 2020, due to the rapidly aging population.
people of their central vision and often, the ability to read a book,
recognize a face, see fine details, and distinguish some colors. There
are two forms of AMD: "dry" and "wet". Dry AMD is the most common form
of the disease. It involves the presence of drusen fatty deposits that
form under the light-sensing cells in the retina.
in dry AMD usually progresses slowly. Wet AMD is less common, but more
rapidly threatening to vision. Wet AMD causes tiny blood vessels under
the retina to leak or break open. This distorts vision and causes scar
tissue to form. Laser therapies can be effective in controlling the
advances of wet AMD, but are ineffective in treating dry AMD.
there is no known cure for AMD, research continues for the disease,
including promising new drug therapies designed to slow the effects of
AMD. Diets rich in certain antioxidants, including lutein and
zeaxanthin can help protect the eyes against AMD and a study by the
National Eye Institute suggests that pharmacological-level doses of
zinc, vitamins C and E, and beta carotene may help slow the progression
of the nutrients were seen only in people who were at high risk of
developing advanced AMD, those with intermediate AMD in one or both
eyes, and those with advanced AMD in one eye only. Vision
rehabilitation by a low vision specialist can help persons with AMD to
make the best use of their remaining vision.
cause of AMD is unknown, but risk factors for the disease include age,
race (Caucasians are more susceptible), smoking and those with
cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Patients with a family history
of the disease are also at high-risk. Those who are at high-risk of AMD
require periodic, dilated eye exams.
AMD research have been profound over recent years, said Daniel D.
Garrett, senior vice president for Prevent Blindness America. But,
"until we can find a cure, the best way we can fight the disease is
through early detection and treatment."
suggests regular eye exams through an eye care professional as well as
the utilization of free tools and information provided by Prevent
Blindness America through its Web site, www.preventblindness.org, and
toll free number, 1-800-331-2020.
designed specific programs to educate the public on the seriousness of
AMD and to give people the tools they can use in order to fight it,"
Garrett said. The Web site offers a user-friendly AMD test, along with
other useful information, that can help visitors determine if they are
For more information on Prevent Blindness America, visit www.preventblindness.org.