More than 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older are blind, visually impaired, or have an age-related eye disease. Every seven minutes another American becomes blind or visually impaired. That vision loss and blindness account for at least $8 billion in lost productivity annually. Vision loss can be caused by congenital abnormalities, infection, injury, and more. But the leading causes of blindness and low vision are primarily age-related diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.
Vision loss and blindness can have enormous and far-reaching effects on the individual as they face functional limitations, dependency, depression, and a greater risk of death. Most vision loss patients are so concerned about the impact on their quality of life that they report that they are willing to trade remaining years of their life for restored vision.
Fortunately, scientists have been making enormous strides over the past few decades in understanding the role of prevention in vision loss, mapping genes linked to disease, discovering medications that can slow and even restore vision loss in diseases like AMD, finding more effective ways to deliver these medications, and more.
Being diagnosed with a vision-related disease can be devastating, but with proper monitoring and treatment, more and more people are able to manage these diseases. Low-vision resources and rehabilitation are also important in helping people adapt and live effectively with their remaining vision.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in the U.S., affecting as many as 11 million Americans. Without proper treatment, AMD can lead to loss of sharp, central vision and cause legal blindness. There are a number of treatment options for AMD, and nutrition and lifestyle changes can play a role in protecting eyesight. While living with AMD can present many challenges, people diagnosed with AMD can take control of their sight.