By Stephen Cohen, O.D.
Most people have an awareness that glaucoma can lead to loss of vision, and that diabetes can damage the back of our eyes. However, there is a disease that is more prevalent than glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy combined. It is estimated that this disease will affect about 7 percent of the population above the age of 40, more than 10 percent aged 60 or more, and about one in three people aged 75 or older! This disease? Macular Degeneration (ARMD).
Deposits in the sensitive part of our retina responsible for our sharp, central vision, will gradually damage the macular area. This could lead to significant or total loss of our central vision, leaving the patient with only blurry peripheral vision to function. Tasks like reading, driving and watching TV can be severely impaired.
As is true with most progressive diseases, early diagnosis of ARMD is critical to help treat and prevent it from getting worse, which it will do if left untreated. However, this is not always easy in the early stages, in part, due to the fact that people often delay going to their eye doctors, and in part, because the early signs are not always easy ...