Myths Vs. Facts of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Myths vs. Facts of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

How much do you know about Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)? With February being AMD Awareness Month, we thought it would be the perfect time for us to clear up any myths and misconceptions regarding this common eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Understanding the facts about AMD is crucial for early detection and effective management of this progressive disease.

Myth: AMD is Rare

Fact: Age-Related Macular Degeneration is a leading cause of permanent impairment of central, detailed vision among people who are 50 years and older, affecting up to 9.4% of US adults. About 90% of those with AMD have dry AMD, in which small yellow deposits form slowly underneath the retina. The remaining 10% have wet AMD, which is the result of abnormal blood vessels forming under the retina and leaking fluids into the macular area, causing rapid, severe damage to vision.

Myth: Nothing Can Be Done to Prevent AMD

Fact: While certain risk factors for AMD, such as age and genetics, cannot be changed, there are steps individuals can take to reduce their risk or slow the progression of this condition, including:

Preventing age-related macular degeneration

  • Making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet rich in leafy green vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking.
  • Wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) rays and hats with brims to protect eyes from harmful sun exposure.
  • Getting a yearly comprehensive eye exam to detect AMD in its early stages, when treatment is most effective.


Myth: Only People with Poor Eyesight Are at Risk for AMD

Fact: While vision loss is a hallmark symptom of AMD, individuals with relatively good eyesight can still develop the condition. In fact, some forms of AMD may progress slowly and cause minimal symptoms in the early stages, making it imperative for everyone, regardless of current visual acuity, to undergo regular eye exams.

Myth: There Are No Symptoms of AMD

Fact: Even though the early stages of dry AMD may not have noticeable symptoms, AMD is a progressive condition and vision problems will become easier to notice as time goes on. In the later stages, AMD can cause central vision issues and make it more difficult to read or recognize faces.

Warning signs of age-related macular degeneration

Some of the early warning signs of wet AMD include blind spots in your central vision and straight lines appearing wavy.

Myth: AMD Can’t Be Treated

While there is currently no cure for AMD, several treatment options are available to slow its progression and manage its symptoms, particularly in the early stages of the disease. These treatments may include medication injections.

By dispelling common myths about age-related macular degeneration, individuals can take proactive steps to reduce their risk and seek timely treatment if necessary. With early detection and appropriate management, individuals with AMD can preserve their vision and maintain a good quality of life for years to come.

Dr. Abraham - expert in age-related macular degeneration

Dr. Prema Abraham of The Black Hills Regional Eye Institute is a leading physician in retinal procedures, including those used to treat wet and dry AMD. Dr. Abraham also participates in numerous clinical research trials related to macular degeneration to help our patients with this disease, including new gene therapy clinical trials for both wet and advanced dry AMD. Learn more about Dr. Abraham and her work in the Eye Institute’s Retina Center here.