MOUNT VERNON — Some eye problems can sneak up on you as you get older. One of those is age-related macular degeneration, a progressive, painless deterioration of the macula, the spot at the back of the eye responsible for central vision.
“I tell patients it’s like the film in a camera,” said Chad Kauffman, an ophthalmologist at Central Ohio Eye Surgeons in Mount Vernon. “It’s where we focus on things like faces and signs.”
It does not lead to total blindness, as it leaves peripheral vision intact as the central vision blurs.
March is Age-Related Macular Degeneration/Low Vision Awareness Month.
About 15 million Americans have AMD. Kauffman explained that it actually comes in two forms: Wet and dry. The dry form is more common, but the wet form, characterized by bleeding or leaking in the retina, can cause vision loss more quickly. About 10 percent of people with dry AMD develop the wet form.
Who is at risk for age-related macular degeneration?
The risk increases if you are:
•Age 50 or older
•Have high blood pressure
•Have a family history of age-related macular degeneration.
Kauffman said AMD can not be cured or reversed, but there are treatments available. He said wet AMD was once treated with lasers, but new treatments involving injected medicines have generally replaced the lasers and are able to stabilize or even improve vision in wet AMD cases.