At the age of 40, you’re at a much higher risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in America. With age, the macula — located in the center of the retina — begins to deteriorate, which negatively affects your ability to see things clearly and can impair your ability to read, drive, and recognize faces.
The exact cause of AMD isn’t known, but genetics have been found to play a role.
There is currently no treatment for AMD but there are preventative measures you can take to either reduce your risk or slow down its progression. This includes regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, not smoking, and controlling other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, which can all negatively affect eye and vision health.
If you aren’t sure whether you have AMD or simply want to test your vision, there is a simple at-home test you can perform to gain valuable insight into possible vision changes.
First, you will need an Amsler grid. This can easily be found online and printed out to be used.
Once you have the grid, tape it on a wall directly at eye level. If you wear glasses regularly, keep them on for this test.
Now, cover one eye and focus your vision on the center dot in the grid. Keep focusing on the center dot and note if any lines are missing or appear distorted. Repeat this using the other eye.
If any of the lines are missing or distorted, then there are changes occurring to your vision that you’ll want to speak to your optometrist about. If you do have AMD, they may offer you recommendations to try and preserve your vision. If the cause of your distorted vision is something else, then your doctor will treat that accordingly.
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