Macular degeneration is an eye disease that can cause loss of central vision due to damage of the retina. It's very important to understand what can cause this condition in order to know if you are at risk for AMD because there are precautions that can be taken to avoid damage from this disease.
Age: This condition is the most common above age 60, hence the name age-related macular degeneration. About 2% of people in their 50s have AMD and approximately a third of those aged 75+ have the disease.
Race: Caucasians are at highest risk for developing AMD and for going blind from macular degeneration. Approximately a third of white people have a gene linked to macular degeneration and people with light colored eyes have a higher chance of developing dry AMD.
Genetics: Family history is important because if you have a first degree relative who has AMD then you have three times as high a chance of developing the condition yourself.
Smoking: People who smoke are up to four times more likely to get macular degeneration than those who have never smoked. This is attributed to the fact that smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches different parts of the body, including the eyes.
Other health conditions: There are various health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, or diabetic retinopathy that could increase the chances of having macular degeneration. Please make sure to provide all of your medical history to your eye doctor who can guide you what the best steps are to protect your eye health.
Gender: Approximately two thirds of those with macular degeneration are women. There is a possible correlation with the fact that generally women live longer.
There are many factors that can cause macular degeneration and it’s essential to be aware of what they are. If you have any concerns of your chances of developing this disease, please schedule an appointment with our eye doctor who will be happy to discuss this important topic with you and to guide you as to what your best options are