Americans Know Little About Leading Cause of Blindness

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January 02, 2008 | 9,375 views

Few Americans are aware that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness among older adults. And many fail to have the routine eye exams that can catch the disease early on.

The public is not aware of AMD, how to detect it or the available options for its treatment and rehabilitation. AMD is a degenerative eye disease that causes the loss of central vision but leaves peripheral vision intact. The disease strikes an estimated 13 million Americans and as many as 30 million adults worldwide.

Yet the survey showed that just 3% of US respondents knew AMD is the leading cause of legal blindness among adults older than age 50 in the Western world. Further, about 70% said they were "not familiar" with AMD.

Although there is no cure for AMD, patients may maintain their functioning through low-vision aids such as glasses with telescopic lenses. Laser surgery may be an option for some patients with more severe AMD, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). AMD symptoms include increasingly blurry or fuzzy vision, perceiving straight lines as wavy, and seeing dark or empty areas in the central line of vision.

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

The blue pigment in bilberries is one of the best treatments for the prevention and treatment of this problem. Blueberries are similar and would likely provide the same benefit, in addition to treating many of the aging diseases associated with the brain as reported several weeks ago in this newsletter.