A.M.D./Low Vision Awareness Month is observed annually throughout February. It’s an awareness month targeted at spreading more information about Age-related Macular Degeneration (A.M.D.) and diseases affecting the eyes that could lead to visual impairment. Putting out the right information about A.M.D. and low vision is important to promote early detection and cancel out whatever false beliefs may circulate about both illnesses. A.M.D. affects approximately 15 million people in the U.S.
History of AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month
A.M.D. stands for Age-related Macular Degeneration. It is an illness that is the leading cause of low vision in Americans older than 50 years of age. The part of the eye affected by this disease is the macula, a pigmented, oval-shaped part of the retina. About 5 mm in diameter, it is responsible for the central vision required for driving, reading, and fine detail. Containing a high number of photoreceptor cells that detect light, it is also responsible for high-resolution vision. A.M.D. is a progressive disease that causes retinal cells to slowly die, though it causes no physical pain.
Medical experts have been able to identify some risk factors that might lead to the onset of A.M.D., including high blood pressure, high levels of blood cholesterol, obesity, and smoking. Other risk factors that a person has no control over are age, heredity, race, and gender. Symptoms of the disease include blurry vision, blind spots, straight lines appearing wavy, doorways seeming crooked, and objects appearing farther away or smaller. When any of these symptoms present themselves, the concerned individual is advised to immediately visit an ophthalmologist.
Though there is no cure for the disease, A.M.D. never causes blindness so it is possible for a patient to live normally with the disease by adapting to the quality of vision they have.
On the other hand, low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by surgery, glasses, contact lenses, or even pharmaceuticals. Its symptoms are blurry vision, tunnel vision, or blind spots. Low vision does not lead to complete blindness and in fact, can be improved with the use of visual aids. A.M.D. is one of the common causes of low vision, alongside diabetes and glaucoma. Though anyone can be affected by low vision, individuals 45 years and older face more risk.
AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month timeline
The choroid part of the eye is drawn by Democritus of Abdera.
The word ‘retina’ is coined in a Neo-Latin translation of an Arabic text.
The first descriptions of A.M.D. are given, though under a different name.
The first scleral contact lenses are invented by Louis J. Girard.
AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month FAQs
Can stress make macular degeneration worse?
It has been observed that stress may be associated with increased inflammation. Because A.M.D. is an inflammatory disease, it is possible that stress may contribute to its progression.
Does lack of sleep affect macular degeneration?
Insomnia has been identified as a sign of an increased risk of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration.
Who is the best doctor for macular degeneration?
With Macular Degeneration, a medical specialist called a retinologist is required because the macula is part of the retina.
How to Observe AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month
Protect your vision
A.M.D. and low vision can be prevented by important lifestyle habits. Do all you can to protect your vision, starting now.
Spread the information
Spread awareness about these illnesses by starting an online campaign or talking to others about it. The more people know about it, the lesser chance the disease has to gain a foothold.
Exercise consideration for this affected
When you notice a person struggling with either A.M.D. or low vision, be kind enough to make the situation more comfortable for them. Turn off a few lights, ask them if they need help getting to their destination, and render whatever form of help you can.
5 Unknown Facts About A.M.D./Low Vision
A.M.D. is on the increase
The number of people diagnosed with A.M.D. is expected to increase to 288 million by 2040.
The hefty cost of this global ailment
The global cost of vision loss is about three trillion U.S. dollars for the 733 million people diagnosed with blindness and low vision worldwide.
It is more prevalent
A.M.D. is much more prevalent than glaucoma and dry eye combined.
The patients come in at advanced stages
About 78% of A.M.D. patients have irreversible vision loss by the time they seek treatment.
Low vision and its population
About four million Americans live with low vision.
Why AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month is Important
Awareness is spread
A.M.D./Low Vision Awareness Month helps raise awareness about both illnesses. Those who have never heard of A.M.D. or low vision will get to learn about them, thanks to the awareness campaign.
Early detection is ensured
Early detection and treatment of both A.M.D. and low vision slow the progression of the disease. This day will lead to early testing.
Sympathy is raised
Not only do people get to learn about these diseases, but they also learn how to support those affected by them. They learn what assistance they can offer to make life more comfortable.
AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month dates