Monday, January 24, 2011

February is ARMD Awareness Month

Sahana Vyas, M.D.

Prevent Blindness America has designated February 2011 as National Age Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month.  Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in Americans older than 50 and affects more than two million people. Although ARMD is incurable, there are new treatments than can, at a minimum, prevent further vision loss from the disease and in many cases actually help recover lost vision.

ARMD causes central vision to blur, but leaves peripheral vision intact.  It is progressive and painless.  There are two types of ARMD:  dry and wet.  Aoorixunatekt 90% of people with ARMD have the dry form which results in gradual vision loss.  Although only 10% of people with ARMD have the wet form, it generally progresses much quicker than the dry form.  Wet AMD is characterized by the growth of abnormal retinal blood vessels that leak blood or bluid, causing rapid and severe central vision loss.

Patients can help reduce the risk of developing ARMD by not smoking and working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables, avoiding food with trans fats, exercising and controlling blood pressure and weight.

 We are fortunate to be able to offer Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) drugs that inhibit the development of unwanted blood vessels that cause wet ARMD as these agents are effective in helping to prevent further visual loss and even improve vision.

Patients older than 50 are encouraged to have a comprehensive, dilated eye examination every one to two years to ensure that ARMD is deceted and treated early.  The key to successful treatment is early detection and intervention.  We are fortunate to have Sahana Vyas, M.D. at D'Ambrosio Eye Care in Lancaster, Acton and Gardner, Massachusetts who is fellowship-trained in Diseases & Surgery of the Retina and a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of Macular Degeneration.