AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)
AMD, which is also known as Age-Related Macular Degeneration, is a condition that causes gradual central vision loss. It is estimated that nearly 20 percent of patients will be affected with age-related macular degeneration in their lifetime.
Who should receive a genetic test for AMD?
There are two groups of people who may want to consider genetic testing for AMD. Primarily, patients who are already showing signs of AMD should be tested. Secondly, people who have a strong family history of AMD may consider being tested. Patients should be aware of the fact that our optometrists do not recommend this type of test for patients with 20/20 vision.
A genetic test can help determine your risk for developing this condition. If a patient is found to be at a low risk for developing AMD, they usually only need to be monitored on an annual basis. However, if the results of the genetic test confirm that you are at an increased risk for developing AMD, you can start making the necessary lifestyle changes so that you may reduce your risk.
What does a genetic test entail?
Getting a genetic test for age-related macular degeneration is relatively simple. Our optometrists will obtain a DNA sample by taking a swab of saliva from your cheek. After the swab has air dried, it is sent to a genetic testing company.
How accurate is genetic testing?
It is important to note that there is no genetic test that is 100 percent accurate. However, the genetic test for AMD is about 80 percent accurate. Experts agree that this test is much more reliable than other types of genetic tests.
What happens if the genetic test shows that I am at an increased risk for developing AMD?
Again, if your test shows that you are at an increased risk for developing AMD, you will have to start making lifestyle changes. One of the things that you will have to do is start getting eye exams more frequently. This is especially important if you are already showing signs of dry AMD. Age-related macular degeneration is much easier to treat and manage if it is diagnosed early. The goal of each type of treatment is to help slow the progression of the disease and preserve your vision. Our eye doctors will also take the time to educate you on the different forms of AMD
Additionally, there has also been evidence to suggest that nutritional eye supplements and vitamin therapy can help prevent this condition. Our eye doctors may recommend that you eat certain foods and take supplements.