February is National AMD and Low Vision Awareness Month – Get the Facts!

Age-related Macular Degeneration is one of the most common eye diseases in older adults.  Age-related Macular Degeneration affects the central vision and can begin almost undetected.  Regular check-ups by an eye care professional are especially important to catch this disease early and start treatments to retain as much usable vision as possible.

Ways to monitor and slow the progress of the disease include; regular check-ups with an eye care professional, self-monitoring your vision using an Amsler grid, having a diet filled with foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin (such as squash, spinach, peas, apples, etc.), quit or avoid smoking, maintain a healthy weight, reduce your blood pressure, and keep a healthy cholesterol level.

Facts about AMD and Low Vision:

  • AMD is a genetic disease.  A family history of AMD will put you at a higher risk.
  • The two types of AMD are Wet and Dry.  Wet AMD affects 10% of patients but this form of AMD causes greater vision loss.
  • AMD is most common in people age 50 and older.
  • People with low vision have trouble performing everyday tasks such as reading, writing, and driving and their vision cannot be corrected with standard reading glasses.
  • People who smoke are at a higher risk for AMD.
  • Including green, leafy vegetables and foods high in Omega-3 in your diet will help lower risk of developing AMD.

If you, someone in your family, or a friend has been diagnosed with AMD and is looking for ways to maintain an active lifestyle, below is a quick list of useful tips:

  • Use a hand-held or stand magnifying glass prescribed by your eye care professional for reading fine print, such as on medicine bottles.
  • Use a portable video magnifier for reading items around your home, menus in restaurants, pricing at stores, food labels, etc.
  • Invest in a desktop video magnifier for reading bills, books, doing crafts, and balancing your checkbook.
  • Change out the lighting in your home for brighter more efficient lighting that will make it easier to see and read.
  • Get a set of writing guides for writing letters, filling out envelopes, and writing checks.  Use these with a bold, felt tip pen such as a 20/20 pen.
  • Replace kitchen items, such as measuring cups and spoons, with high contrast large print items.
  • Watch TV using the PowerTV glasses that will magnify what is on the television. These can also be used to read street signs when you are out walking.
  • Wear UVA/UVB protective lenses while outside to offer better contrast and glare control and to protect your eyes from harmful UVA/UVB light.

Preventing or delaying the loss of vision is important and requires being informed, taking needed steps to change your lifestyle, and working closely with your eye care professional. You can find more helpful tips and ideas from the Macula Vision Research Foundation. Finding ways to effectively use your remaining vision to maintain the lifestyle you are accustomed to is vital to your overall mental and physical well-being.  To learn more about low vision and the solutions that will assist you in your day-to-day life, connect with us

Feb 07, 2020

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