October 19, 2005
CONTACT: Suzanna Cisneros Martinez, suzanna.martinez@ttuhsc.edu

LUBBOCK – The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s Garrison Institute on Aging will present “Understanding Age-Related Macular Degeneration” at 4 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Academic Classroom Building Room 100, located at 3601 Fourth St.

Kelly T. Mitchell, M.D., assistant professor of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, will discuss what age-related macular degeneration is; who is at risk; what the symptoms are; what the screening process is and current treatment options.

Mitchell said age-related macular degeneration, AMD, is a disease that blurs the sharp, central vision you need for "straight-ahead" activities such as reading and driving. It affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail.
“Age-related macular degeneration causes no pain,” Mitchell said. “In some cases, it advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes. This is a leading cause of loss of reading and driving vision in Americans 60 years of age and older.”
Mitchell said AMD can begin in adults in their fifties and the risk increases with age. Caucasians are more likely to lose vision from AMD than blacks or Hispanics. People with a family history of AMD are at higher risk of getting the disease and women appear to be at greater risk than men. Smokers have a significantly higher risk of vision loss due to AMD.
“Since there is currently no cure for AMD and we currently have treatments that are effective at slowing the progression of the disease, it is important that adults over the age of 55 have a complete eye exam in order to have the best chance of early detection and treatment,” Mitchell said.

The lecture is a part of the Garrison Lecture Series on Healthy Aging, an educational program for the public to learn more about innovative research and health topics of interest to seniors.

For more information, contact the Garrison Institute at (806) 743-7821.