Why Is AMD Awareness So Important?

  • By Germaine Shock
  • 27 Feb, 2017
If you’ve been following along on the Eye-Q Blog for AMD Awareness Month, by now you should be pretty familiar with the disease and how it works. In our final macular degeneration themed post, we'll recap a few important tidbits, share some useful prevention methods, and give you some ideas for helping to spread the awareness not just in February - but all year long! If you haven’t yet read our other two posts on AMD, check them out here and here .


  • According to  Friends For Sight , 1.65 million Americans have Macular Degeneration.
  • Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is also the leading cause of irreversible blindness in those ages 65 and older.
  • AMD is believed to occur as a result of the eye’s natural aging process when the center of the retina (macula) deteriorates.
  • Fatty deposits within the eye called drusen are an important factor in monitoring and diagnosing macular degeneration.
  • There are actually two forms of AMD, dry amd - which is the most common - and wet amd.
  • Wet AMD is the more advanced form of the disease, characterized by abnormal vessels that grow underneath the retina and leak causing scarring and vision loss.
  • Like most eye diseases, macular degeneration often has no symptoms in its early stages until vision is damaged and lost.
  • Early detection through a yearly eye health examination is the best way to protect your vision.
  • As the disease progresses, symptoms can exist such as a loss of central vision, black or dark spots in the middle of vision, straight lines appearing wavy or distorted, and colors not seeming as bright or differing between eyes.
  • Risk factors for AMD include being over the age of 50, having a family history of the disease, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, diet lacking in fruits and veggies, etc.
  • There is no cure for AMD, but treatment options exist to help prevent progression such as anti-VEGF injections, laser treatment, and photodynamic therapy.


The best prevention for AMD by far is staying on top of your eye health by having annual dilated eye exams. Your eye doctor can see signs of the disease long before you would begin to notice symptoms from damage.

What else can you do? Unfortunately, many of the risk factors associated with AMD aren't changeable - such as race, age, family history, and gender. However, there are several other changes you CAN make to reduce your overall risk. These include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Wearing 99%-100% UV-blocking sunglasses
  • Eating a diet rich in colorful fruit and veggies
  • Losing weight if necessary
  • Staying on top of blood pressure
  • Exercising regularly
  • Being aware of your risk factors and family history


Spreading awareness of AMD is important because although it is a leading cause of irreversible blindness, there are not typically any early symptoms to warn you that you could be losing your sight. This makes education about the disease and its risk factors arguably the most important tool in preventing vision loss.Want to help spread the word? Here are a few ways you can get involved


By Germaine Shock 06 Dec, 2017

Do your friends often comment on your ‘unique’ choices when it comes to matching colors and patterns? Being fashionably challenged might not be entirely your fault (or it could be). You might be having an extra difficult time due to color blindness.

Color blindness is actually somewhat of a misuse of the word as those affected by the condition can actually still see color - just with a more limited palette. Color vision deficiency is actually the more accurate term. However, there is a rare form of color vision deficiency known as achromatopsia where you are in fact completely devoid of color in your world- but we’ll get to that one a little later. For now, let’s start with the basics.

By Germaine Shock 01 Aug, 2017
By now most all of you have likely seen or are at least familiar with a solar eclipse. Without getting into too much of the scientific details, a solar eclipse happens when the moon moves between the sun and earth during its orbit causing a partial or complete blockage of our view of the sun. Although a solar eclipse only lasts for a few minutes, its thrilling impact will stay with you for much longer.
By Germaine Shock 20 Jul, 2017
School's out for summer! With a little extra free time and flexibility in your schedule, now is the perfect time to  bring your kiddos in for their eye health exams. Most parents will logically assume that since their child hasn’t had any complaints, they must not be having any problems - or that their child is simply too young to need an eye exam. Think again! 
By Germaine Shock 06 Jul, 2017
Sometimes when it comes to kiddos, you’ll find yourself navigating through some gray areas. For example, determining how much screen time is too much - or how old they should be to watch that scary movie. These definitive numbers are so hard to pinpoint simply because no two children are the same. They all mature at different rates, and we as parents have to adjust accordingly. Fortunately, here are a few tips to help in one of those gray areas -  figuring out if your child is ready for contact lenses.
By Germaine Shock 23 Jun, 2017
We have all made a questionable decision or two at least once in our lives. However, when it comes to your eyes and vision, this is one area where it is always better to be safe than sorry. Here are a few of the most common mistakes made by contact lens wearers and a safer alternative to keep those peepers healthy.
By Germaine Shock 14 Jun, 2017

More than likely if you are reading this, you’ve experienced the strange sensation of an eyelid twitch. It can happen anywhere, at any time, and almost always stops the moment you try to point it out to someone else (and of course resumes the second they turn away just to make you look extra crazy). Well you aren’t crazy - at least in this case - eyelid twitches are a real thing!


Better known in professional lingo as “myokymia”, this twitching sensation is the result of involuntary, spontaneous, rippling muscle contractions. These spasms can actually occur in almost any of the muscles in your body. When relating to the eyelids, myokymia is most common in your lower lids but can happen in your top lids as well.

Eyelid myokymia is typically very temporary. The twitching will usually only last for a few minutes, but in some rare cases can last for a few days or even weeks.

Your doctor will likely advise you that there is no cause for concern as common Myokymia resolves on its own without the need for treatment. Other than causing mild annoyance, the eyelid twitching shouldn’t cause any long term complications or interference with your vision.
By Germaine Shock 01 Jun, 2017

Do your eyes ever feel dry and itchy? Do you ever experience eye fatigue, redness, blurred vision, or excessive watering? You could be suffering from dry eyes - especially if you live in Oklahoma City which ranks as the 17th driest city in the U.S. And despite the name, dry eye isn’t just an annoying feeling - it’s a legitimate chronic eye disease that affects an estimated 4.88 million Americans over the age of 50 alone. And since another estimated 89% of the population have never even heard of Dry Eye Syndrome, it’s easy to see why some would just write off those annoying symptoms as a normal part of their lives.

By Germaine Shock 16 May, 2017

In honor of Mother’s Day kicking off Women’s Week, the Eye- Q blog has decided to dedicate a post solely to women’s eye health related issues. So what makes women’s eye health so special? Women are actually more commonly affected than men by a number of ocular health issues including dryness, cataracts, age related macular degeneration, and complications from autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren's or lupus. Furthermore, according to Prevent Blindness America, 66% of people who are blind or visually impaired are women.

Let’s start with that statistic - why are women more at risk for eye complications than men?
By Germaine Shock 05 May, 2017
May is healthy vision month - and as we draw nearer to the official first day of Summer, what better time to discuss one of the most commonly overlooked parts of eye health - UV protection. Most of you are probably fully aware of the negative effects UV rays can have on your skin, but did you know the sun can be just as damaging to your eyes?
By Germaine Shock 25 Apr, 2017

No, it’s not a typo. Sjogren’s - pronounced show-grins - is a type of autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and damage to various parts of the body; most commonly the tear and saliva glands. This damage results in symptoms ranging from dryness and discomfort to difficulty swallowing and can even affect the lungs and kidneys.

So why exactly does this happen? Let’s start with a quick health lesson. The immune system is responsible for fighting disease and killing harmful viruses and bacteria. However, with autoimmune diseases, your immune system has a hard time knowing when to stop fighting and mistakenly attacks your own body. With Sjogren’s, your exocrine glands - the glands that secrete moisture such as saliva, sweat, tears, breast-milk, gastric mucous, etc - become the main targets.
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