They define Dry AMD a vision loss that “occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye.”
Wet AMD, on the other hand, “occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye. Damage to the macula occurs rapidly.”
According to The University Of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center individuals aged 60 or older are at a higher risk for low vision, defined as vision that is 20/70 or worse and cannot be fully corrected with conventional glasses. This includes AMD.
AMD and low vision usually interfere with the performance of daily activities, such as reading, writing or driving. Therefore, early detection of AMD and other types of low vision is key in helping postpone complete vision loss as well as in designing a lifestyle that adapts to the challenges of having low vision.
There are multi-disciplinary approaches to the treatment of different types of low vision. Ophthalmologists, optometrists and occupational therapists make up the team of health care professionals who will work with you starting with your vision examination, and continuing to work with you to identify treatment options where applicable.
Apart from medical treatment, Assistive Technology magnifiers can also play a key role in helping maintain independence after an AMD diagnosis.
Handheld and desktop magnifiers are capable of magnifying reading material and images from 2 times to 60 times the original document size. Each can also feature different magnification modes – such as magnifying all or part of a document – as well as color inversion options that can change font and background colors for easier viewing.
Handheld magnifiers are lightweight, portable options available in color and/or black and white viewing modes. Easy to use, handhelds are durable and convenient devices that can be used at home, in the grocery store, library or classroom by individuals with mild to moderate vision loss.
Desktop magnifiers are stationary high powered units ideal for individuals with severe low vision who need a strong magnifier for reading books, prescription bottles, newspapers, magazines or when writing. Some desktop magnifiers may also be connected to a standard TV or computer screen for even larger viewing capabilities.
In addition to investing in helpful assistive technology vision aids to maintain an independent lifestyle with low vision, Prevent Blindness America also suggests making healthier decisions that may prevent or reduce the affects of low vision.
- Control blood pressure and cholesterol – this includes eating a diet filled with green leafy vegetables rich in Lutein. Eating foods high in zinc, vitamins C and E, and beta carotene has also been shown to help.
- Stay active and exercise regularly – whether it’s a brisk walk, taking a yoga class or participating in a full cardio workout.
- Get a complete eye exam from an eye care professional – as mentioned, early detection is the key to treating AMD early with the chance of slowing progression.
For additional resources on AMD, visit Prevent Blindness America or the National Eye Institute. Visit EnableMart.com for additional information on vision aids ideal for individuals with AMD or other low vision types.