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Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month! The aim of this month is to educate patients about macular degeneration, as well as promote awareness, share resources, and encourage comprehensive vision examinations. What is macular degeneration? Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among Americans age 50 and older. It is also known as macular degeneration, AMD, or ARMD. The macula is the small, central area of the retina responsible for visual acuity, or seeing clearly. In macular degeneration, this region is damaged, resulting in blurry, distorted vision. Age-related macular degeneration can occur in two forms: wet (neovascular) and dry (non-neovascular). Dry AMD is the most common form, affecting roughly 85 to 90 percent of people with AMD diagnoses. In 10 percent of cases, dry AMD will progress into wet AMD, a more severe form of the condition. What are the symptoms of macular degeneration? Macular degeneration is painless, and many of its early symptoms are subtle. Because of this, it’s essential to receive regular eye examinations and speak to your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Symptoms of macular degeneration include:Straight lines appear wavy, blurry, or missingDifficulty seeing in dim lightTrouble seeing in the center of your visionChanges in color vision It is possible for your doctor to detect signs of macular degeneration before symptoms emerge with a retinal exam. What are the risk factors...
Have You Heard? Cataract Surgery Leads to Better Driving!

Have You Heard? Cataract Surgery Leads to Better Driving!

Cataract surgery can be life-changing, allowing patients with poor vision to finally see bright colors, regain their night vision, and even reduce their dependence on glasses. But can these improvements be measured? In Australia, a group of researchers sought to quantify how much cataract surgery can improve a person’s ability to drive a car. In the study, they tested the driving performance of 44 patients before and after cataract surgery. Patients completed a simulated driving test designed to measure how well they deal with adjusted speed limits, traffic densities, uncontrolled intersections, and pedestrian crossings. The researchers tested participants before cataract surgery, after receiving cataract surgery in their first eye, and after receiving cataract surgery in their second eye. (Cataract surgery is typically performed in one eye at a time, with the second eye receiving surgery at a later date.) After the first surgery, near misses and crashes decreased by 35 percent. After the second surgery, they decreased by 48 percent. “These results highlight the importance of timely cataract surgery in maintaining safety and continued mobility and independence in older adult drivers,” said Jonathon Ng, MD, the head researcher. This is far from the first study to examine how cataracts affect driving. In 2009, another research team found that even mild cataracts can slow a driver’s ability to detect hazards, and in 1999, a study found that drivers with cataracts...