Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

The macula in your eyeMany patients who come to Primary Eye Care Associates are in their golden years. As people get older, various conditions that result in vision loss become more likely. One common vision loss condition we see a lot is age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Our Chicago, IL eye care specialists would like to go over some of the basics concerning dry AMD. If you’re in your late 50s or older and notice any changes in your vision, we encourage you to visit our practice for an exam and screening.

About Dry AMD

Dry AMD is a common type of vision condition experienced by people who are 65 years old and older. Dry AMD leads to vision loss due to the thinning of the macula, which is the central portion of the retina. Dry AMD can develop in one eye before eventually affecting both of a person’s eyes.

The Causes of Dry AMD

The exact cause of dry AMD has yet to be determined, yet research has found a link between dry AMD and a combination of various hereditary and environmental factors.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry AMD

The most common signs and symptoms of dry AMD include the following:

  • Straight lines appear curved or bent
  • Visual distortions
  • Printed words appear blurry or fuzzy
  • Brighter lights needed when reading
  • Problems seeing in low-light situations
  • Colors seem duller or less intense
  • Problems recognizing people’s faces

Risk Factors of Dry AMD

Various conditions can make dry AMD much more likely. They include the following:

  • Advanced Age - Dry AMD is more likely when someone approaches and surpasses 65 years of age.
  • Family History - If you have relative who developed dry AMD, you're more likely to develop the condition yourself later in life.
  • Ethnic Background - Dry AMD tends to be more common in caucasians than any other ethnic group.
  • Obesity - Studies have found people who are obese are more likely to suffer from severe dry AMD.
  • Smoking - Cigars and cigarettes significantly increase your chances of developing dry AMD as well as a number of other eye and general wellness conditions.
  • Cardiovascular Disease - Medical conditions that affect your heart and blood vessels are more likely to cause issues with dry AMD later in life.

Treating Dry AMD

Dry AMD is an incurable condition, but various things can be done to make seeing and reading a bit easier. Treatments tend to involve managing your current vision and making changes to ensure no further vision loss occurs.

People with dry AMD can work with low-vision specialists to learn how to adapt to their reduced vision. Vitamin supplements can be taken to help boost eye health. Exercise and good eating habits are also encourages since healthy living can work wonders for the eyes and other parts of the body.

Prevention of Dry AMD

To help prevent dry AMD and ensure early detection should it develop, consider the following tips:

  • Attend routine eye exams
  • Avoid smoking and use of tobacco products
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly to maintain weight and wellness

Learn More About Treating Macular Degeneration

For more information about diagnosing, treating, and preventing dry AMD and other kinds of eye conditions, be sure to contact our team of vision correction doctors. The people of Primary Eye Care Associates are here to answer your questions and help you get the treatment you need most.