March is Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month
New Treatment Options Available for Condition That is a Leading Cause of Vision Loss Among Older Adults
Georgia Retina, the state’s largest retina-only private practice, called on adults over 60 to be alert for symptoms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and see an ophthalmologist immediately if they experience changes in their vision.
With March recognized as Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month, the nine-physician practice began a campaign to focus on the condition.
Dr. Mark J. Rivellese said new treatments available at Georgia Retina can reduce the impact of the disease that is the leading cause of vision loss among adults 60 and over.
“There are two forms of macular degeneration: atrophic, referred to as dry AMD, and neovascular, or wet AMD,” Dr. Rivellese said. “For dry AMD, the most common early sign is blurred vision. For wet AMD, the classic early symptom is that straight lines appear crooked.”
The most effective treatment currently available to treat macular degeneration is lucentis by Genentech.
Dr. Rivellese said the greatest risk factor for AMD is age. Although AMD may occur during middle age, studies show that people over age 60 are clearly at greater risk than other age groups. For instance, a large study found that people in middle age have about a 2 percent risk of getting AMD, but this risk increased to nearly 30 percent in those over age 75. Other risk factors include:
– Smoking. Smoking may increase the risk of AMD.
– Obesity. Research studies suggest a link between obesity and the progression of AMD.
– Race. Whites are much more likely to lose vision from AMD than African Americans.
– Family history. Those with immediate family members who have AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
– Gender. Women appear to be at greater risk than men.
Georgia Retina focuses their care specifically on conditions of the retina, macula, and vitreous, making them experts in addressing retina disorders. The retina specialists have the training and experience to provide their patients with state-of-the-art treatment.
At Georgia Retina, patients’ vision needs are the top priority. As one of the largest retina-only medical practices in the southeastern United States, Georgia Retina specializes in treating diseases of the retina, macula, and vitreous. Its nine board-certified ophthalmologists have received special fellowship training in vitreo-retinal diseases and surgery, and are engaged in clinical trials with the goal of advancing research into retinal diseases, their causes, and their cures.
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