February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month
Mount Sinai Experts Available to Discuss Tips & Information on Irreversible Vision Loss
Macular degeneration is a major cause of irreversible vision loss in the United States and around the world. As many as 11 million Americans have some form of macular degeneration. To observe Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month, ophthalmologists at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) and the Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) are offering tips for prevention, early detection, and treatment of the condition.
Experts Available for Interview
- Robin N. Ginsburg, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, MSHS, and Director of the Vitreoretinal Service, Mount Sinai Hospital
- Richard B. Rosen, MD, FACS, Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, MSHS, Surgeon Director and Retina Service Chief, NYEE, and Director of Ophthalmology Research, NYEE
Facts about Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
- The number of people living with any form of macular degeneration is similar to that of those who have been diagnosed with all types of invasive cancers.
- As many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of AMD. This number is expected to double to by 2050.
- AMD is the result of deterioration of a central area of the retina called the macula, which is the location of central vision. This deterioration can make vision become blurry or wavy. It can also result in a blind spot in the center of your vision.
- Age is a major risk factor for developing AMD. Other risk factors include: a history of smoking; hypertension, family history. AMD is more common among women and Caucasians but is seen among all races.
- There are two types of AMD: dry (atrophic) and wet (neovascular or exudative). Most AMD starts as the dry type and in 10-20 percent of individuals, it progresses to the wet type.
- Age-related macular degeneration is always bilateral (i.e., occurs in both eyes), but does not necessarily progress at the same pace in both eyes. It is therefore possible to experience the wet type in one eye and the dry type in the other.
Tips for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Prevention and Treatment
- If you have a family history of AMD, get a comprehensive dilated eye exam yearly after the age of 50.
- AMD occurs less often in people who exercise, avoid smoking, and eat nutritious foods including green leafy vegetables and fish. If you already have AMD, adopting these habits may help you keep your vision longer.
- Although some vision loss from AMD is irreversible, effective treatments can slow down progression or in some cases reverse vision deterioration
- Nutritional supplement formulations containing antioxidants and zinc (studied in the AREDS and AREDS2 clinical trials) have been shown to slow the disease in those who have intermediate AMD and those with advanced AMD in only one eye.
- Anti-VEGF injections (medication specifically aimed at stopping the progression of the abnormal blood vessels that cause the vision loss) are an effective treatment for the wet or neovascular form of AMD and may control or reverse vision loss if administered shortly after the onset of vision loss. Early recognition of vision change, evaluation by an ophthalmologist, and starting proper medical treatment may be sight-saving.
- Anti-Complement treatments and Stem cell therapies are promising treatments for the advanced dry form of AMD, which are being studied at the Mount Sinai Health System.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in six other specialties in the 2018-2019 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology and 44th for Ear, Nose, and Throat. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and South Nassau Communities Hospital are ranked regionally.