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Prevent Blindness Northeast Region
February Designated as Age-related Macular Degeneration/Low Vision Awareness Month by
Prevent Blindness Northeast Region to Educate Public on Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Americans
Boston, MA (Jan 30, 2019) – Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a leading cause of vision loss for Americans age 50 and older. The eye disease causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for clear, central vision.
Prevent Blindness Northeast Region has declared February as Age-related Macular Degeneration/Low Vision Awareness Month to help educate the public on AMD risk factors, treatment options and more.
There are two types of AMD:
- Dry AMD- The most common form of AMD is “dry” AMD. About 80 percent of people who have AMD have the dry form, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dry AMD is caused by the appearance of small yellow deposits called drusen, which form under the retina. These are accumulated waste products of the retina, which can grow in size and stop the flow of nutrients to the retina. This will cause the retinal cells in the macula that process light to die, causing vision to become blurred. This form of the disease usually worsens slowly.
- Wet AMD- Wet AMD generally causes more rapid and more serious vision loss. In this form of the disease, tiny new blood vessels grow under and into the retina. These blood vessels are fragile and often break and leak, causing a loss of vision. The Mayo Clinic states that people whose wet macular degeneration has progressed to central vision loss have a higher risk of depression and social isolation. With profound loss of vision, people may see visual hallucinations (Charles Bonnet syndrome).
Many people who have AMD may not be aware they have it until they notice significant vision changes. Although there is no cure for AMD, vision loss can be lessened if detected and treated early by an eye care professional.
Vision changes due to AMD include:
- Difficulty seeing central vision
- Trouble seeing in dim light
- Straight lines start to appear wavy, blurry or missing
- Fading and/or changes in the appearance of colors
Prevent Blindness Northeast Region also offers the no-cost online resource, “Living Well with Low Vision,” with information ranging from an extensive list of searchable, local low vision resource directories, helpful handbooks for patients and caregivers, and an informative blog with news for people living with age-related eye disease and significant visual impairment, authored by patient advocate and low vision educator Dan Roberts, M.M.E.
For more information on AMD and low vision resources, please contact Prevent Blindness Northeast Region at 312-363-6037 or visit www.preventblindness.org. For a free listing of organizations and services that provide financial assistance for vision care in English or Spanish, please visit https://www.preventblindness.org/vision-care-financial-assistance-information.
About Prevent Blindness Northeast Region and Children’s Vision Massachusetts
Prevent Blindness Northeast Region is part of Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, serving the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screenings, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-800-331-2020. Or, visit us on the Web at preventblindness.org or facebook.com/preventblindness
Children’s Vision Massachusetts, supported by Prevent Blindness, is a seventy member coalition of families, professionals from multiple disciplines and affiliations, whose mission is to facilitate the development of a state-wide plan to improve the visual health of children in Massachusetts. To achieve this, the coalition is working to raise awareness and create systems to assure that every child has a vision screening, eye exam, and ongoing treatment if diagnosed with a vision condition.