More than seven million people in Germany have the eye disease AMD. Anyone who goes to the preventive check-up early can get over it.
Under the motto “Keep an eye on the future”, the nationwide health campaign “Week of Seeing” instead, which draws attention to the topic of eye health. It falls on the time between October 8, World Sight Day, and October 15, International White Cane Day. The latter owes its name to the white cane, on which around 155,000 people in Germany depend, estimates are based on 36 million blind people worldwide. The results of a current study show that such a campaign is appropriate: According to a representative survey by the Kantar opinion research institute, citizens in this country do not care enough or badly about their eyesight.
The study shows that although more than half of the population is afraid of losing sight in old age, many people do not go to the ophthalmologist or go too late. For example, 70 percent of those surveyed stated that they would only visit a specialist if they already had problems with their eyes. On top of that, the most common cause of blindness in western industrialized countries, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is not even familiar to many people. While 87 percent have heard of cataracts, only a little more than a third said they knew AMD from the one in Germany nearly 7.5 million people affected are. In contrast, well-known eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts are much less common with less than a million cases each, especially since both can also be treated with drugs and surgery.
AMD – Symptoms and Causes
There are two forms of AMD, dry and wet. The most typical symptom of dry AMD is loss of visual acuity in the center of the field of vision. Those affected often only notice this visual impairment very late, as the color contrasts decrease and straight lines appear distorted. The latter is also the most common symptom of wet AMD. It develops from the dry variant and is responsible for 90 percent of blindness in Germany. It usually first appears in one eye before there is a 50 percent chance that it also affects the other eye.
The exact cause of age-related macular degeneration is not clear, but as it progresses, metabolic residues, so-called drusen, which lead to blind spots, are deposited in the eye. From the age of about 50, drusen in the eye are normal, and it only becomes problematic when too many and too large of them accumulate. They disrupt the reproduction of the sensory cells in the eye, which are responsible for converting light into electrical signals. Our brain can no longer process the light impulses without them and translate them into our consciousness – this means that the ability to see is lost.
That is why preventive examinations are worthwhile
The development of dry AMD can neither be prevented nor stopped. Only that right nutrition and stress avoidance slow down the natural process of the aging eye. This does not apply to wet AMD; its progression can be treated and contained if it is detected early. According to the recommendation of the Professional Association of Ophthalmologists, Take advantage of preventive medical check-ups and have the retina checked regularly, especially from the age of 55. Only then can the ophthalmologist help you maintain your eyesight into old age.