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  • Dr. Lesa Lawson

February is AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month

February is...

~Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)/Low Vision Awareness Month

~National Children’s Dental Health Month, and

~National Heart Month

Today's focus is AMD/Low Vision

The leading cause of vision loss is Age-Related Macular degeneration (AMD)/low vision. Studies show that this progressive degenerative condition affects over two million adults over the age of 50. The macula is the spot on the retina at the back of the eye that controls central vision. Macular degeneration is generally painless but the central vision begins to blur over time. The peripheral vision generally remains intact and may be the reason that many people do not really notice the change in their vision. This is not the case in every condition; macular degeneration progresses quite rapidly in some cases.

Symptoms of AMD/Low Vision: `Doorways seem crooked or straight lines appear wavy `Difficulty seeing from a distance `Decreased ability to distinguish colors `Inability to see details, such as faces or words in a book `Dark or empty spots block the center of your vision

Some Risk Factors for AMD: ~ Diet and Exercise: Yes, you see D&E everywhere and with regard to everything. You won't be able to escape it because the body's lifeline is a healthy diet, coupled with exercise. The eyes love green leafy vegetables and lutein from tomatoes (make sure to lightly steam tomatoes to reduce the alkaloid content and for better absorption). Add these to other healthy foods, including rich sources of omega 3s which the eyes love, as well. If you do not exercise, start walking or riding a bicycle or walking up and down the stairs for at least 10 minutes. Just do something. ~ Age ~ Gender: AMD is more common in women than men. ~ Race: Caucasians are more prone to AMD than other races. ~ High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can damage many of the blood vessels in the eye. ~ Hyperopia: Severe farsightedness or hyperopia (not common). ~ Smoking: Tobacco seems to interfere with the absorption of lutein, a antioxidant that protects the retina from damaging UV light. Smoking also constricts blood vessels, thereby decreasing the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the eye. ~ Exposure to Sunlight: According to, ultraviolet light can damage your retina and increase the chances of developing AMD. It can also speed up its development. Protect your eyes when outdoors and in bright light. Wear a hat and invest in good, high quality sunglasses that screen for 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays.

If you notice any of the symptoms, you should see an ophthalmologist.

Is all hope lost?

Not at all You can find ways to help if your vision is affected. Large print material, special lights (without glare), sunshades, anti-glare screens for your computer, a magnifying glass, and audio books are some methods, in addition to your healthy diet and exercise, of course. Your eye doctor can also provide you with some solutions.

For more information, visit

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