Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Alabama AMD Macular Degeneration Awareness

Marc Michelson, M.D. Preps for Surgery
Alabama Eye & Cataract Center Ophthalmologist Marc Michelson, M.D. commented on Macular Degeneration Awareness month. February marks the 2013 National Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month. This awareness of AMD is becoming more and more important each year as the number of people affected by macular degeneration is continuing to climb-especially as the baby boomer population ages,” said Dr. Michelson.

Prevent Blindness America estimates that more than 2 million people age 50 and older have late AMD which represents a 25 percent increase between 2000 and 2012.  “In the past, we were pretty much only able to give patients with age related macular degeneration (AMD) bad news about their vision and prognosis. Today, for most patients, with early detection, diagnosis and treatment, at a minimum we can prevent further vision loss from the disease and in many cases we can actually help recover lost vision,” said Dr. Michelson.

AMD causes central vision to blur, but leaves peripheral vision intact. It is progressive and painless. There are two types of AMD, a “Dry” form and a “Wet” form. It is estimated that 85-90% of people with AMD have the Dry form which results in a gradual vision loss. Fortunately, only 10-15% of people with AMD have the Wet form which often progresses much quicker and can cause catastrophic vision loss. Wet AMD is characterized by the growth of abnormal retinal blood vessels that leak blood or fluid. Leaking or bleeding vessels leads to swelling and bleeding in the Macula causing visual distortions or decreased vision. Over time, this can lead to scarring in the Macula and create damage that results in the loss of central vision. Patients can often reduce their risk of developing AMD by not smoking as well as eating a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables, avoiding foods with Trans fats, exercising and controlling blood pressure and weight.

“What patients need to know is that once you are over 50, it becomes increasingly important to have a thorough, comprehensive dilated eye exam every one to two years-and even more often if you have any family history of AMD or at the recommendation of your eye doctor. The key to preventing vision loss from AMD is early detection, quick diagnosis and then immediate access to treatment with vascular endothelial growth inhibitor (VEGF) injections such as Lucentis®”, summarized Dr. Michelson.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about AMD, are concerned or have a risk of AMD or schedule an eye exam for age related macular degeneration please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or facebook.com/michelsonlaservision.

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham staffed by a team of specialists including eye doctors who are fellowship trained cornea specialists and cataract and lens implant specialists-all board certified Ophthalmologists & Corneal Specialists-as well as Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser eye surgery such as LASIK for laser vision correction, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and fitting of eyeglasses and eyewear.