Note to editors: International AMD Awareness Week is September 22-28, 2012. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in Canada; more than one million Canadians are living with some form of the disease, a figure that is expected to double in the next 25 years.
TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - CNIB is warning Canadians that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) continues to be the leading cause of vision loss in Canadians over 50 years old. And, with the aging population, the number of people diagnosed with the disease is expected to double in the next 25 years. But the good news is there are things people can do to minimize their risk.
"A number of lifestyle choices can be very effective in the prevention of vision loss from AMD," said Dr. Keith Gordon, CNIB's Vice-President, Research. "Things like not smoking, eating a diet rich in leafy greens and omega-3 fatty acids, wearing sunglasses and exercising regularly are all proven to help maintain vision health."
AMD causes damage to the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for seeing fine details (such as reading print or seeing faces). People with AMD experience blurred central vision and a growing central blind spot.
Dr. Gordon added: "Early diagnosis is extremely important to prevent vision loss. Especially if you're over 50, you really need to be getting your eyes examined on a regular basis. New treatments for AMD are quite effective, but the earlier the disease can be diagnosed, the better the outcome."
As part of AMD Awareness Week, CNIB is proud to launch a new guide for Canadians who have been diagnosed with or are at risk of getting AMD, called Your Guide to Age-related Macular Degeneration.
"There's no need to wade through the results of an internet-search trying to determine what's true and what's not when it comes to AMD. CNIB's new guide is a one-stop source for credible information," urged Dr. Gordon.
He added: "Whether it's learning about how to minimize risk, becoming more proactive about treatment or accessing vital support services, the guide will help to empower people with AMD to live full, meaningful lives and truly see beyond vision loss."
To download a copy of CNIB's Your Guide to Age-related Macular Degeneration, visit cnib.ca/amd.
The development of CNIB's Your Guide to Age-related Macular Degeneration was made possible through an educational grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit cnib.ca or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.