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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss for people aged 60 and older in the United States. February is age-related macular degeneration awareness month and Acuity Eye Group encourages people to get their regular eye exams.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), almost 2 million individuals have AMD. AMD is when a part of the retina, called the macula, becomes damaged due to deterioration or breakdown of the macula. The macula is a small area in the retina at the back of the eye that allows one to see fine details clearly and perform activities, such as reading, recognizing faces, and driving.

“The only way to detect AMD is to have a comprehensive eye exam, and early detection is key to slowing down its progression,” said Dr. Michael Samuel, Co-CEO, Partner and Chief Medical Director at Acuity Eye Group. “We are here to remind people, that even with AMD, there are treatments that can save their sight.”

There are two forms of AMD, wet and dry. Symptoms may include:

  • Blurry distance and/or reading vision
  • Need for increasingly bright light to see up close
  • Colors appear less vivid or bright; lose their brightness
  • Hazy vision
  • Difficulty seeing when going from bright light to low light (such as entering a dimly lit room from the bright outdoors)
  • Blank or blurry spot in your central vision
  • Distorted vision — straight lines appear bent, crooked or irregular
  • Size of objects may appear different for each eye

Risk factors include:

  • People age 50 and older
  • Family history of AMD
  • History of smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure/cholesterol
  • Lack of vitamins prevalent in fruits and vegetables

Additionally, Dr. Samuel recommends patients take eye vitamins that are specifically designed to slow the progression of AMD and slow the conversion to the wet form of AMD. His preferred vitamin is EyeScience Macular Health formula. A nationally renowned clinician, surgeon, and researcher, Dr. Samuel specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of various retinal diseases, including AMD.

Acuity Eye Group has multiple clinics throughout southern and central California and is home to some of the nation's top ophthalmologists who specialize not only in general ophthalmology, but also in pediatric ophthalmology, cataracts, and glaucoma as well as retina diseases and surgery.