Pittsburgh / Allison Park Senior Care Blog

Three Things Seniors Should Know About Macular Degeneration

By Erin Carll

Home Care in Pittsburgh PA

Home Care in Pittsburgh PAMany seniors have probably heard of two common eye disorders called cataracts and glaucoma but there is another one they should be aware of called age-related macular degeneration. Sometimes referred to as AMD, this incurable eye disease affects more than ten million Americans. One reason seniors receiving in-home care needs to be aware is that one of the risk factors of getting the disease is being age 55 or older. Here are three more things seniors should know about age-related macular degeneration.

Risk Factors for AMD

As mentioned above, one of the primary risk factors of AMD is simply age, especially for those over the age of 55. The older the person, the greater their risk of getting the disease. AMD affects 40 percent of those who are 75 years and older. Other risk factors include:

  • Race - Caucasians are at a higher risk than other ethnic groups
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Family history
  • Gender - more females than males have AMD
  • Eye color - more prevalent in those with blue eyes
  • One more risk factor is obesity which can actually cause a more severe form of macular degeneration.

Symptoms of AMD

Seniors should be aware of the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration even if they don't have some of the risk factors mentioned above. While there are virtually no symptoms in its earliest stages, one of the most common symptoms as the disease progresses is that straight lines appear distorted. For seniors who want to stay on top of early detection, they can get an Amsler Grid. Seniors can test themselves at home with this simple tool that can be downloaded from the Internet. While it is good to do the test at home, seniors should continue going to their optometrist for regular eye exams.

Other symptoms of AMD include:

  • Dark or blurry areas in the center of vision
  • Change in color perception
  • The need for more light when reading

Being aware of the symptoms of AMD and testing vision with an Amsler Grid are very important when it comes to early detection. Since this disease affects central vision only, those who have AMD will not go blind but they will lose peripheral vision.

Treatment for AMD

There is no cure for age-related macular degeneration. However, there are ways to slow down the onset of the disorder. For those who get senior care, they should continue going to the eye doctor on an annual basis for a comprehensive eye exam. Seniors should also take good care of their eyes by avoiding exposure to ultraviolet rays and blue light from the sun. Certain nutrients and antioxidants have been known to help curb the symptoms of AMD which is why a healthy diet is important as well.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring home care in Pittsburgh, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 201-0712.