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Preventing Age-related Macular Degeneration

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February is AMD and Low Vision Awareness Month in the United States, and it’s White Cane Week in Canada. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in adults aged 50 and older. Awareness about the disease, the risk factors and prevention are critical, even for younger generations because taking care of your eyes while you are young will help to reduce the risks later on in life.

Understanding AMD

AMD is a disease that damages the macula, which is the center of the retina responsible for sharp visual acuity in the central field of vision.  The breakdown of the macula eventually results in the loss of central vision and can occur in one eye or both eyes simultaneously. While AMD doesn’t result in complete blindness, the quality of vision is severely compromised leading to what we refer to as “low vision”.

The loss of central vision can interfere with the performance of everyday tasks such as driving, reading, writing, cooking, or even recognizing faces of friends and family.  The good news is, there are many low vision aides on the market now that can assist in helping you to perform these tasks. 

There are two types of AMD, wet and dry.

Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease. It is characterized by blurred central vision or blind spots, as the macula begins to deteriorate. Dry AMD is less severe than the wet form, but can progress to wet AMD rapidly.

Wet AMD is when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow under the retina and leak fluid and blood into the macula, causing distortions in vision. Wet AMD can cause permanent scarring if not treated quickly, so any sudden blur in vision should be assessed immediately, especially if one is aware that they have AMD.

Are You at Risk?

The biggest risk factor for AMD is age. Individuals over 60 are most likely to develop the disease however it can occur earlier.  Additional risk factors include:

  • Smoking: According to research smoking can double the risk of AMD.
  • Genetics and Family History: If AMD runs in your family you are at a higher risk. Scientists have also identified a number of particular genes that are associated with the disease.
  • Race: Caucasians are more likely to have AMD than those from Hispanic or African-American descent.
  • Lifestyle: Obesity, high cholesterol or blood pressure, poor nutrition and inactivity all contribute to the likelihood of getting AMD. 

Prevention of AMD:

If you have risk factors, here is what you can do to prevent or slow the progression of AMD:

  • Regular eye exams; once a year especially if you are 50 or over.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Know your family history and inform your eye doctor.
  • Proper nutrition and regular exercise: Research indicates that a healthy diet rich in “Eyefoods” with key nutrients for the eyes such as orange peppers, kale and spinach as well as regular exercise may reduce your risks or slow the progression of AMD.
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure. 
  • Dietary supplements: Studies by the National Eye Institute called AREDs and ARED2 indicated that a high dosage of supplements of zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and lutein may slow the progression of advanced dry AMD (it is not recommended for those without AMD or early AMD).  Speak to a doctor before taking these supplements because there may be associated risks involved. 
  • Wear 99% -100% UV-blocking sunglasses.

The first step to eye health is awareness. Help us to spread the word about this debilitating disease and the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle.

To our patients and community,

At the present time, TSO Fredericksburg is remaining open. We wanted to share with you the following precautions and safety measures we are taking to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our patients and staff. We regularly clean all of our equipment between every patient. We disinfect common surfaces, work stations, door handles, light switches, chairs, etc, on a daily basis. This is how we regularly do business. However, with the heightened guidelines surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, we want to assure you that we have escalated our disinfection efforts.

Furthermore, we will provide minimal wait times so there is very little contact with other patients in the waiting area.

If you are experiencing any flu symptoms at all and/or cough, fever, shortness of breath, we ask that you please stay home. We are more than happy to reschedule anyone that needs to!

In addition we are also offering “curbside” delivery, in which we deliver your glasses and/or contact lens orders directly to your vehicle if you prefer not to come in at this time.

Again, as each day is new, please know that we have our patients and staff in mind, and we want to do all that we can to take care of everyone. We will keep you updated of any changes that may occur in our practice. Thank you, as always for trusting us with all of your eye care needs!

Sincerely,

The Doctors of TSO Fredericksburg

Frame Service Agreement, New at TSO Fredericksburg

You can now purchase peace of mind with your new eyeglasses for only $29 at Texas State Optical Fredericksburg! Replace of your broken frames for a full year, no questions asked!

  • Available at the time of eyewear purchase
  • Agreement covers one-time no charge frame replacement due to damage or breakage, no questions asked
  • Subsequent replacements incur a $15 copay
  • Agreement covers frame for 12 months from date of glasses purchase
  • Fee for agreement $29

Please feel free to call with any questions about the program, or feel free to visit us for further details. Thanks again for choosing Texas State Optical Fredericksburg.

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