AMD Awareness Week 2018 ‘SightSee With Me’ will take place from the 10th-16th September.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of the event.

The aim of the awareness week is to create greater public awareness and understanding of AMD, and encourage those aged 50 and over to get their eyes tested regularly.

Further information on AMD Awareness Week 2018 activities will feature

What is AMD?

AMD is a leading cause of blindness in Ireland. As the name suggests it is a age related condition affecting many over the age of 50. With each decade over 50 there is an increasing incidence.

100,000 people are affected by AMD and there are around 7,000 new cases each year. 90% have Dry ARMD and 10% have Wet ARMD.

The eye is like a camera it has lens at the front and a film at the back. The central part of the film is known as the macula. This is the area affected by AMD. The Macula is involved in reading letters, seeing fine detail, recognising faces and the appreciation of colour.

Dry ARMD  is an insidious progressive condition. It may start with difficulty reading.  Patient benefit from increase illumination and magnification. It can progress to missing letters on a page and having difficulty recognising faces. The most severe forms result in loss of central vision but peripheral navigational vision is preserved.

Wet ARMD has an acute onset over weeks to months associated with distortion and drop in vision.

What can you do to reduce your risk of developing AMD.

You can’t do much about your age or your genetics but you might be able to do the following:

  1. Stop Smoking
  2. Adequate intake of Antioxidants Vitamin C, E and Zinc
  3. Increase intake of Lutein, Zeaxanthin (Macular yellow pigments)
  4. Use CE marked Sun glasses to reduce ultraviolet radiation exposure
  5. Improve your cardiovascular condition by including activity like a brisk walk in your day.
  6. Monitor and control Blood pressure and cholesterol
  7. Keep your weight in check.

Many of these multivitamins and pigments can be obtained by increasing our intake of green leafy vegetables like Spinach, Kale, Avocados and Broccoli.  Avocados are a particularly good as they contain more lutein than any other fruit and are agreat source of other vitamins. These nutrients can also be obtained by taking multivitamin tablets readily available in all pharmacies. They may offer as much as a 25% reduced risk of developing a severe sight threatening condition.

Wet ARMD if diagnosed early is amenable to effective treatment with intravitreal injections. It is thus very important not to ignore symptoms and seek immediate treatment. Treatment can stabilise the condition and in around 30% can improve vision from baseline. You do not go completely blind with this condition as it does not affect the peripheral navigational vision.

Call to action.

If you are worried you may have ARMD you should seek an appointment with a eye specialist. If you have a sudden disturbance in vision you should attend an eye casualty for prompt investigation and treatment. Time matters.