By Dr. Dexter Street, Low Vision Specialist

Dr. StreetFor 36 years I have practiced optometry with an emphasis on low vision. Most of my patients who I work with at IFB Solutions’ Community Low Vision Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is one of the leading causes of adult sight loss. In fact, more than 10 million Americans have AMD. Here is what you need to know about AMD that can help you or a loved one.

How does macular degeneration impact vision?
Macular degeneration may reduce a person’s ability to see detail, text, and faces. Vision may appear dimmed and include spots, distortion, blurriness, and waviness.

There are TWO types of AMD:
– Dry AMD is caused by compromised blood vessels beneath the macula. These blood vessels can no longer deliver the needed nutrients to the macula nor carry away the waste products.
– Wet AMD occurs when the macula suffers from the lack of nutrition. Therefore, it grows its own blood vessels. These vessels are weak causing them to leak and break very easily allowing blood and other fluids to leak into the macula.

Risk-Factors for developing AMD:
– Smoking or vaping (Current smokers are 2-3X more likely to develop AMD)
– Obesity (2X more likely to develop AMD)
– Age 55+
– Family history of AMD (2.5X higher risk)

Reducing your risk of developing AMD:
– Exercise and eat healthy: dark, leafy greens; fatty fish; avoid processed foods and artificial fats
– If you smoke or vape – stop!
– Get regular eye exams

Dr. Street performs an exam

On the bright side, for most people, having age-related macular degeneration does not mean they will experience complete sight loss. Medical interventions such as injections and AREDS 2 vitamins can help to slow the progression of the disease. It is vital for people to get their vision checked regularly and report any issues or changes to their optometrist.

If you have any questions or concerns about your vision, please visit to chat with one of our associates.