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Office Visit: Don’t Get Blindsided by AMD

By Todd Hoffman, M.D.

Our eyes go through a lot as we mature and, like most of our anatomy, eventually show signs of wear.

Sometimes contacts or eyeglasses are the answer to improving visual health, but other conditions require different solutions. While cataract and glaucoma are more well-known conditions, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older.

February is National Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month. This eye disease can result in the loss of central vision and possible blindness, if left unchecked. People with AMD struggle to see fine details in objects straight ahead, either close or far. However, their peripheral vision may be unaffected. 

For example, when looking at a clock, a person with AMD may see the numbers but not the hands.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, many people are unaware they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. Studies have shown people with a higher risk of AMD have symptoms such as a diet high in saturated fat, overweight, smoke cigarettes, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure or a family history of AMD. Caucasians have an elevated risk for this disease.

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Todd Hoffman, M.D.

Eye-healthy foods like dark leafy greens, yellow fruits and vegetables, fish and a balanced, nutrient-rich diet have proven to be beneficial for someone diagnosed with AMD.

The AAO encourages older Americans to educate themselves about AMD. Regular visits to the eye doctor can help combat any possible damage and develop a treatment plan that improves your eye health outcome in the long run.

Vision is an important part of our health. Don’t get blindsided by AMD. Your eyes will thank you for it.  

Let’s make it a good month!

Todd Hoffman, M.D., C.P.E., is chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a division of Health Care Service Corp., a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association