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Are You at Risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration? Here are the Top Five Risk Factors
By Benjamin Chun, M.D.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of severe vision loss among Americans ages 65 and over. Knowing your risk factors and seeing your Ophthalmologists can help reduce your risks of blindness. March is AMD Awareness Month.
The top five risk factors for AMD:
* Being over the age of 60
* Having a family history of AMD
* Cigarette smoking
* Obesity
* Hypertension
If you have any two of these risk factors, you should see your ophthalmologist for a complete evaluation. If you do have AMD, your ophthalmologist may recommend certain preventive measures which can reduce your risk of vision loss from this disorder.
There are two types of AMD, 'dry ' and 'wet '. Although both are not good to have, the 'wet' AMD can cause significant loss in vision very rapidly. Some of the symptoms include sudden, noticeable loss or distortion of vision, such as seeing “wavy” lines. There are new treatments these days to prevent you from losing vision completely. Earlier diagnosis of wet AMD gives a better chance of successful treatment. The ‘Dry’ form of AMD can also cause you to lose vision, however, typically it progresses very slowly. Most people have the dry form. Unfortunately the ‘dry’ form can become ‘wet’ at anytime.
There are some things you can do to improve your odds. Avoid smoking, maintaining good health, and taking certain eye vitamins has been shown to lower the risk of AMD progressing to advanced stages by 25 percent. You should check with your Ophthalmologist before starting any dietary supplement.
Dr. Benjamin Chun is Medical Director, Cataract and Laser Institute of PA. For more information, visit www.cliofpa.com

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