Healthy Lifestyle Changes can Help Protect Vision from Age-related Macular Degeneration

More than 2 million Americans ages 50 and over have Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), a 25 percent increase from the last decade, according to the 2013 Vision Problems in the U.S. report from Prevent Blindness America. In Wisconsin alone, an estimated 46,106 adults over the age of 40 have AMD. The disorder is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness for those ages 65 and older.

Those with AMD may experience the following symptoms:

  • Straight lines, such as a flag pole or streetlight, may appear wavy
  • A dark or empty spot may block the center of vision
  • Written words or type may appear blurry

There are two forms of AMD: "dry" and "wet.” Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease. It involves the presence of drusen – fatty deposits that form under the light-sensing cells in the retina. Vision loss in dry AMD usually progresses slowly. Wet AMD is less common, but more rapidly threatening to vision. Wet AMD causes tiny blood vessels under the retina to leak or break open. This distorts vision and causes scar tissue to form. Although there are treatments for AMD, there is no cure.

Those with AMD may experience the following symptoms:

  • Straight lines, such as a flag pole or streetlight, may appear wavy
  • A dark or empty spot may block the center of vision
  • Written words or type may appear blurry

There are two forms of AMD: "dry" and "wet.” Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease. It involves the presence of drusen – fatty deposits that form under the light-sensing cells in the retina. Vision loss in dry AMD usually progresses slowly. Wet AMD is less common, but more rapidly threatening to vision. Wet AMD causes tiny blood vessels under the retina to leak or break open. This distorts vision and causes scar tissue to form. Although there are treatments for AMD, there is no cure.

To maintain healthy eyes and lower the risk of eye disease, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin recommends that everyone:

  •  Visit an eye doctor regularly
  •  Stop smoking
  •  Eat healthy foods, including foods rich in certain antioxidants
  •  Stay active
  • Control blood pressure
  • Protect eyes from the sun by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and a brimmed hat

For more information about AMD, visit wisconsin.preventblindness.org/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd.  You’ll find a variety of tools and information on everything from risk factors, treatment options, and even a downloadable Amsler Grid, (a tool that can help identify vision abnormalities linked to AMD). 

Continuing Education Course - Diabetic Eye Disease Educator Program

Nurses, diabetic educators and community health workers are invited to a comprehensive two-hour eye health education program designed to teach about the visual system and the signs, symptoms and complications of the secondary diseases of Diabetes – Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma. The two hour course includes basic information on:

  •   Diabetes and Diabetic Eye Disease
  •   The parts of the eye and visual system
  •   Diabetic Retinopathy, Cataracts and Glaucoma
  •   General vision and eye health education messages

Continuing Education Credit Information: This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. This program, 2012-051 approved for 2.0 contact hours.
Upcoming Presentations:
March 14, 2013
Appleton, WI
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm ​
Register for the Diabetic Eye Disease Educator Program on March 14, 2013

​April 23, 2013
Madison, WI
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Register for the Diabetic Eye Disease Educator Program on April 23, 2013

Amazing Eyes Story Time Supports Early Literacy and Children’s Healthy Vision

Is it a rabbit or a duck?  Prevent Blindness Wisconsin and Milwaukee Public Libraries have teamed up to provide the Amazing Eyes Story Time for children up to age 5.  The 30 minute program teaches kids about the sense of sight and keeping their eyes safe. Children also gain early literacy skills by enjoying books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See? or Duck! Rabbit!, a fun book about optical illusions. Meanwhile, parents and caregivers learn how to support their children’s vision health at home and in the classroom. Programs are free and open to the public at the dates and locations noted. Call Erica at 414-765-0505 for more information.

Clear Days Ahead for Five Year Old Boy

Did you know that children with vision problems may not know that they have poor vision?  Five year old Nicholas received a vision screening recently at his YMCA daycare center. His mother Chelsea says: “I am so happy these volunteer screeners came in to give [vision screenings]. I had no idea that Nicholas had a hard time seeing. Luckily we now have new glasses so he can now see in school and advance his learning.”  Nicholas had never worn glasses before he was screened by volunteer vision screeners from Prevent Blindness Wisconsin

Yet after his screening his mom took him to an eye doctor for a complete exam and Nicholas was diagnosed with astigmatism in both eyes. Says mom Chelsea, “Nicholas can finally see the chalkboard and actually see pictures during story time!”  Want to volunteer as a Certified Children’s Vision Screener? Visit http://wisconsin.preventblindness.org/become-vision-screener\