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Health Tip: Are You at Risk for Macular Degeneration?

(HealthDay News) -- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among people 50 and older, the U.S. National Eye Institute says.

AMD damages the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina that's needed for sharp, central vision (seeing objects that are straight head). It can interfere with daily activities such as driving, reading, writing, cooking or seeing faces.

Age is the biggest risk factor for AMD, which typically doesn't occur before 60. The agency says other risk factors include:

  • Smoking. Research shows smoking doubles the risk of AMD.
  • Race. AMD is more common among whites than among African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos.
  • Family history. People with a family history of AMD are at higher risk.
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