(NBC) – Have you heard of age-related macular degeneration? Maybe not, but a Florida doctor says it affects millions.
“It’s probably the most common diagnosis I see here in my practice,” says Retinal Specialist Dr. Joshua Mali.
Doctor Mali says AMD develops as retina tissues break down over time.
Patient Larry Hoffheimer says with genetics as a risk factor, he saw it coming after his mom was diagnosed.
“In both eyes, and the doctor told her there’s not really much you can do about it, so she lost her central vision,” he said.
He was so passionate about spreading AMD awareness that he founded the Macular Degeneration Association, and since he knew the warning signs, he knew what to look for.
And luckily, a lot has changed in AMD treatment.
“Over a decade ago, we didn’t have any great treatments for this condition. But now we’re so lucky to have excellent injectable eye treatments that are very effective at saving people’s vision,” said Dr. Mali.
Hoffheimer says he’s probably had 50 of these injections for his wet AMD, where there’s bleeding inside the eye.
“Injectable medications help to shrink the blood vessel over time and stop the bleeding,” Dr. Mali said.
Dr. Mali says other risk factors are age and smoking. And he advises: if your eyes are trying to tell you something, listen.
“Visual loss or vision changes, it’s so important to get a dilated eye exam with your regular eye doctor,” he said.
To learn more about the different types of AMD visit macularhope.org.