Prevent Blindness Wisconsin Offers Free Resources to Educate Public on Age-related Macular Degeneration & Low Vision

Milwaukee, WI (February 3, 2014) – Today, more than 2 million Americans ages 50 and over have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), including more than 40,000 adults over the age of 40 in Wisconsin. AMD is an eye disease that causes central vision to gradually deteriorate. Over time, AMD can lead to low vision and blindness. According to the National Eye Institute, almost 3 million Americans have low vision. Blindness and low vision in the U.S. cost more than $3.7 billion annually, with an annual per-person treatment cost of $6,680, according to the  “Cost of Vision Problems:  The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States.
 
To raise awareness of AMD and low vision, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin has declared February as Age-related Macular Degeneration & Low Vision Awareness Month.  Prevent Blindness Wisconsin offers resources on AMD and low vision, including:
 
Living Well with Low Vision- lowvision.preventblindness.org is a new online resource offering up-to-date information and free materials for people living with low vision. The mission of Living Well With Low Vision is to make it as easy as possible for people to educate themselves about loss of vision and to meet the daily challenges resulting from it. 
 
AMD Awareness Makes a Difference- Prevent Blindness Wisconsin offers Amsler grid magnets to help raise awareness of AMD.  An Amsler grid is used to monitor a person's central vision and can help identify vision abnormalities linked to AMD. To request a grid with instructions for use, email us at: [email protected]
 
Prevent Blindness AMD Learning Center- The AMD Learning Center, found at wisconsin.preventblindness.org/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd, provides a variety of educational tools including AMD risk factors, treatment options, an Adult Vision Risk Assessment tool, fact sheets and more. 
 
See Jane See- More women than men have eye disease, and 65 percent of those diagnosed with AMD are women.  SeeJaneSee.org is a new Prevent Blindness online resource offering free eye health information tailored to women.  
 
“The number of cases of those with AMD, retinal disorders and low vision are growing at an alarming rate,” said Barbara Armstrong, Executive Director of Prevent Blindness Wisconsin.  “Only through education, early detection and treatment can we prevent considerable vision loss.”
 
Making a commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle also helps to save sight.  Prevent Blindness Wisconsin recommends:

  • Visit an eye doctor regularly

  • Stop smoking

  • Eat healthy foods, including foods rich in certain antioxidants

  • Stay active

  • Control blood pressure

  • Avoid eye injuries that may cause permanent damage by wearing eye protection during physical activities

  • When outdoors, no matter what time of year, always wear UV-blocking wrap-around sunglasses and a brimmed hat

For more information on AMD, low vision and other eye disease, please contact Prevent Blindness Wisconsin at (414) 765-0505 or visit www.preventblindness.org/wi.