Macular degeneration is a major cause of vision loss in older Americans. But new research shows that baby boomers are avoiding the illness at higher rates than their parents did. Why the improvement? Lowered rates of heart disease, long linked to poorer eye health, may be one reason.
Aging baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 may experience better retinal health at older ages than did previous generations, as reported in a recent study.
Macular Degeneration: What Is it?
Age-related macular degeneration, also called macular degeneration, AMD or ARMD, is deterioration of the macula, which is the small central area of the retina of the eye that controls visual acuity.
The health of the macula determines our ability to read, recognize faces, drive, watch television, use a computer, and perform any other visual task that requires us to see fine detail.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among senior citizen Americans, and due to the aging of the U.S. population, the number of people affected by this disease is expected to increase in the years ahead.
Macular Degeneration: Statistics From Boomers To Seniors
The recent 5-year study tracked the eye health of more than 4,800 Wisconsin residents. This included people who were older than 43 when the study started in the late 1980s, as well as their “Generation X” kids.
The results showed an overall significant decline. Nine percent of people born between 1901 and 1924 developed the eye illness. This dropped to just 1 percent for baby boomers. And so far, macular degeneration has only hit 0.3 percent of Gen Xers. Overall, each generation was more than 60 percent less likely to develop macular degeneration than the previous generation.
That’s good news and trends, because age-related macular degeneration can be very disabling, according to eye specialists. It still is the leading cause of vision loss in America and is devastating to a person’s quality of life.
Age is a risk factor for the development of macular degeneration. This study emphasizes the importance of seeing your eye doctor for routine eye exams.
Watch this informative video on macular degeneration.