February 2019 Newsletter

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What is Age-related Macular Degeneration?


AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) is a chronic eye disease that causes loss of the straight-ahead vision that is crucial for activities like reading or driving.  AMD affects more than 10 million Americans and is now the leading cause of blindness in adults over 60 years of age. 

How can this be detected early?

Thankfully your eye doctor can detect small changes in the macula and begin preventive measures long before vision loss occurs.  Like most diseases it is critical to discover AMD early and begin treatment to preserve the sight you have. This is just one of many reasons for having yearly dilated eye exams. Dilating the eye allows the pupil to become large enough that the retina can be closely examined.  An Amsler Grid is a great screening tool to monitor change. This grid is made of straight lines that look like a checkerboard. Changes in the Amsler Grid can sometimes detect progression in AMD.  If lines appear bent or curved or missing altogether it could be a sign of progression.  With the advent of technology scans of the retina can be done to detect microscopic signs of AMD.  If your doctor sees signs in the retina they may perform one of these scans.


Types of AMD

There are two types of AMD, wet and dry. 90% of vision loss is caused by wet AMD. Most treatments for wet AMD are designed to stop the leaking of blood vessels that cause severe vision loss. During a clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute it appears that the risk of developing AMD can be reduced when consuming high levels of antioxidants including lutein and zinc. Though not a cure for AMD it is possible to help people with AMD keep their vision. This vitamin formula known as AREDS has been found to reduce the conversion of the dry form into the wet form.

Risk Factors for AMD

Age is a major risk factor for AMD. The disease is most likely to occur after age 60, but it can occur earlier. Other risk factors for AMD include:

  • Smoking. Research shows that smoking doubles the risk of AMD.

  • Race. AMD is more common among Caucasians than among African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos.

  • Family history and Genetics. People with a family history of AMD are at higher risk. At last count, researchers had identified nearly 20 genes that can affect the risk of developing AMD. Many more genetic risk factors are suspected. You may see offers for genetic testing for AMD. Because AMD is influenced by so many genes plus environmental factors such as smoking and nutrition, there are currently no genetic tests that can diagnose AMD, or predict with certainty who will develop it. The American Academy of Ophthalmology currently recommends against routine genetic testing for AMD, and insurance generally does not cover such testing.

Amsler Grid

Amsler Grid
  • Hold approximately 12”-14” in front of the eye

  • Wear your glasses. Use bifocals if you have them.

  • Test one eye at a time.

  • Look at the center dot only.

  • Check for wavy lines or bland areas near the center.

  • Keep your eye on the center dot – do not scan.

  • Do not check more than once daily.

  • Report any change to us immediately.

What can I do?

There are some things you can do to decrease your odds of losing vision from AMD. Stop smoking and maintain a healthy weight. Monitor your blood pressure to keep it within a normal range and exercise. Eat a diet high in green leafy vegetables. Lastly, have your eyes evaluated with a dilated eye exam by your Eye Doctor.

February is AMD/ Low Vision Awareness Month

In This Issue

What is Age-related Macular Degeneration

How can this be detected early?

Types of AMD

Risk Factors

Amsler Grid

What can I do?


Contact Us

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Ohio 43420

(419) 334 8121


622 Parkway Drive,


Ohio 44830

(419) 435 3482



Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)



The American Academy of Opthalmology



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