Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has again designated February as Age-related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month in an effort to point out the symptoms, risk factors and treatment options for older adults who experience low vision or are candidates for vision loss.
Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, is the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 and older, and currently affects more than 2 million Americans ages 50 and over. Learn how the eye works and AMD:
The macula is the small area in the center of your retina that is full of light-sensitive cells called cones. These cells are responsible for providing color vision, and allows for the recognition of faces and other objects. The rest of your retina – the area surrounding the macula – contains rods, photosensitive cells that provide black-and-white shading, and allows your side (peripheral) vision to detect movements and shapes.
If a hole develops in your macula, your ability to see objects head-on can quickly become compromised. Similar to macular degeneration, macular holes are an age-related eye condition that is most common in people over 60 years old. However, unlike macular degeneration, macular holes do not develop as a result of genetics or lifestyle choices. Instead, they are caused by factors such as:
- Eye injury
- Detached retina
- Severe myopia
- Macular pucker
- Vitreous separation or shrinkage
Macular holes can be treated through a vitrectomy. During this procedure, your ophthalmologist will remove your vitreous gel and replace it with a mix of air and gas that is designed to put pressure on your macula, causing the hole to heal itself. Over time, the gas/air will be gradually replaced by natural eye fluids again, and your vision will be restored.
If you are suffering symptoms of macular holes, please contact an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today to schedule an initial consultation.