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Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

Understanding ARMD, the Leading Cause of Blindness in Seniors

by Damion Wasylow 22 February 2022 11:04 AM

senior man struggling to read phone
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) causes
8.7% of all blindness worldwide. In the United States, 2% of people aged 50-59, and nearly 30% for people over age 75, have ARMD. So, it’s understandable that seniors should have routine eye exams to allow for early diagnosis and treatment.

What is ARMD?

As you age, a protein called drusen, along with small amounts of fat, form under your retinas. For many people, the protein is harmless and doesn’t lead to vision problems. For others, however, these protein and fat deposits grow larger and shift to the center of the retina, called the macula. As the deposit continues to grow, it prevents oxygen from reaching important eye structures, which leads to permanent central vision loss.

ARMD Symptoms

There are two main types of ARMD: dry and wet; with dry being the more common of the two. The primary symptoms of the two ARMD variants are the same.

  • Straight-line distortion with lines becoming wavy

  • Central vision in one or both eyes is reduced

  • Low light level adaptation difficulties

  • Color brightness and intensity loss

  • Blurred vision, especially when reading

  • Defined blind or blurry spot

Dry ARMD vs Wet ARMD

Dry ARMD is much more common than wet ARMD, representing 85-90% of ARMD cases. Thankfully, it also progresses more slowly, meaning patients maintain their vision for longer.

With wet ARMD, patients develop abnormal blood vessels in the macular area. These vessels often the leak fluid, leading to rapid and significant vision loss

ARMD Treatment

Treatment for ARMD primarily depends on the type of macular degeneration (dry or wet) and how far it has progressed. While the symptoms of both types of macular degeneration are similar, treatment options are not.

While no treatment can reverse ARMD, research shows that maintaining a healthy diet and increasing your daily intake of antioxidants may lower your risks.

In early stages of dry ARMD, treatment may include low vision rehabilitation, which is designed to help you compensate for loss of central vision by adapting to better leverage your peripheral vision.

In more advanced stages of ARMD, a telescopic lens implant may be an option. Implants may be implanted in one or both eyes, and work to magnify your current field of vision.

For wet ARMD, medications may help stop the formation of new blood vessels in the eye. There are also therapies to treat the abnormal vessels. These treatments may help slow vision loss, preserve existing vision and potentially regain some lost vision. 

If you notice changes in your vision, or believe you may have symptoms of ARMD, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care at 352-373-4300 to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.



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