Prevent Blindness America has designated February as Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month. This is an effort to help educate patients about the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for this disease among older Americans.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration, also known as AMD, is a disease that affects part of the back of the eye called the macula, the central part of the retina. This can cause the center portion of your vision to become blurry or wavy. It could also cause a blind spot in the center of your vision.

It is a leading cause of blindness among Americans 65 years of age or older.

If you are 65 years of age or older, make sure that you:

  • Visit your eye doctor regularly.

An eye doctor can check for signs of AMD by doing something that is known as a dilated eye exam. This allows the doctor to get a better look at the back of your eye to check for diseases such as AMD. Also, certain screening technologies such as fundus photography or optical coherence tomography can detect preliminary changes towards macular degeneration.

  • Learn about the signs and symptoms of AMD.

Items with straight lines such as flag poles look wavy. Things in your line of vision look blurry. For example, the type on a book page looks blurred or missing. A dark or empty spot is in the center of your line of vision. This can be detected easily at home with an Amsler Grid test performed by the patient weekly.

  • Take good care of your health overall.

Make sure to include dark, green leafy vegetables in your diet and continue at least 20 minutes of daily physical activity.