The National Eye Institute reports that 15 million people in the United States have “age-related macular degeneration” (AMD), with more than 1.7 million having the more advanced form of the disease that causes progressive blindness. AMD is a vascular disease that affects the central part of the retina (the macula) and disrupts sharp, central vision. In most cases, the eye disease progresses so slowly that those affected are unaware that their vision is in danger. With this in mind, it is important to have regular eye exams every two to four years if you are 40-64 and every year or two at age 65 and older. A dilated eye exam is essential for early diagnosis and prevention of vision loss. Quit smoking and bring your blood pressure under control to reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Just as our physical strength decreases with age, our eyes also exhibit an age-related decline in performance – particularly as we reach our 60s and beyond. Some age-related eye changes are normal, but others may signal a disease process. It’s important to recognize signs and symptoms, and perhaps even more important to mitigate the effects of aging with some simple and common sense strategies.