Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is an eye disease that affects the macula, the central portion of the retina located at the back of your eye. The macula contains the highest concentration of special photoreceptor cells called cones, and it's the portion of your eye that's responsible for clear central vision. In AMD, the blood vessels the macula begins to deteriorate, resulting in loss of vision in the central portion of your field of vision.
The characteristic symptom of AMD is the loss of central vision, which may occur slowly over time or may develop very rapidly. Initially, central vision may be cloudy, blurry or dim, progressing to dark spots or empty spaces in your central vision. Although ti affects only the central portion of your vision, AMD can make it difficult or impossible to perform activities like reading, watching TV, driving or other daily tasks, and it can also make it very difficult to recognize faces.
AMD cannot be cured, but having regular eye exams and knowing your risk factors are critical to preventing AMD-related vision loss. Risk factors associated with age-related macular degeneration include:
high blood pressure
high cholesterol levels
obesity or being significantly overweight
leading a sedentary lifestyle
Taking steps to control these risk factors is important for reducing your likelihood of developing AMD or slowing its progression. In addition, some studies indicate taking specific types of vitamin supplements may help slow or halt the progression of AMD. Before taking any supplement, discuss it with your doctor first since some supplements can cause unwanted side effects, especially if you're already taking medication or have a chronic health issue.
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