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Age-related Macular Degeneration
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is an eye disease that damages the macula (center of the retina). The damage can cause blurred vision, or vision loss. Your vision problems may develop slowly or quickly.
- Antioxidant vitamins and minerals: These are supplements that help protect your body cells from damage. Supplements used to treat ARMD include vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc. These supplements may also help decrease your risk for advanced ARMD. Talk with your healthcare provider before you take antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your eye specialist or healthcare provider as directed:
All adults, 40 to 64 years of age, should have a complete eye exam every 2 to 4 years. You may need eye exams more often if you have serious ARMD symptoms, such as vision loss. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Improve the lighting and color in your home:
Have enough light in your home to help you see objects well. Use light bulbs that reduce glare. Ask if you should not use certain types of light bulbs. Use bright colors in your home. Decorate your rooms with solid colors that contrast, such as black and white. Containers or furniture with bright or contrasting colors may also help you see objects better.
Protect your eyes from the sun:
Always wear sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection lenses to protect your eyes when you are outdoors. Avoid direct sunlight as directed if you have photodynamic therapy. Protect yourself by wearing wide-brimmed hats. Carry a card with you that says you are sensitive to light. The card can be helpful to others in case of an emergency.
Your ARMD is likely to get worse if you smoke. If you smoke, you may be told not to take beta-carotene supplements. Ask for more information about how to stop smoking if you have trouble quitting.
Visual rehabilitation (rehab) uses activities to help you function with your vision loss in your daily life. A therapist may help you choose tools to use, and suggest ways to keep your home or workplace safe. You may learn to use certain assistive devices during visual rehab. Assistive devices include corrective and magnifying glasses, large print materials, and calculators with large number pads. Talking books and computer programs that type as you speak may also be helpful. Ask for information about assistive devices you can use.
Contact your eye specialist or healthcare provider if:
- You have discomfort or pain in your eye after treatment for ARMD.
- You have new or increased blurred vision or blind spots.
- You have new or increased redness in your treated eye.
- You have new or increased trouble seeing or eye pain when in the light.
- You see new or an increased number of floaters (spots).
- Your symptoms prevent you from doing your daily activities.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You suddenly lose vision.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.