Treatments curb future uptick in macular degeneration

By Sheryl Kay • Published: July 15th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Old age coming into view? Don’t forget to keep an eye on your vision.

By the year 2050 almost eighteen million people will suffer from age-related macular degeneration. The condition results in blurred vision as the macula, an area of the retina, begins to deteriorate. Today, only half that many suffer from A-M-D.

The forecast is spotlighted in a recent issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology. Using existing data, scientists estimated the number of people in every stage of the disease, breaking it down by age, gender and race or ethnicity. They then predicted the number of people likely to develop it, looking at five treatment scenarios ranging from no treatment at all to vitamins and minerals combined with laser therapies for those with later stages of A-M-D.

While the projected doubling of cases seems dramatic, researchers noted an aging American population could easily explain the striking increase.

The good news? Newly discovered preventive therapies and treatments for A-M-D are far superior to past remedies. And because existing medical treatments can reduce the most serious consequences of the disease by as much as thirty-five percent, researchers estimate that by the year 2050, more than half-a-million people with the condition will be able to avoid significant vision impairment and blindness.

How else can you keep your eyes in tip-top shape? Exercising and not smoking aren’t just good for your heart… experts say a healthy lifestyle is good for eyesight, too.