Macular degeneration is generally age-related and most commonly affects people 55 years and older. People 60 and older who have a family history of macular degeneration are at an increased risk for developing the eye disease. And while you can’t control your genetics, there are numerous risk factors that are under your control.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition in which the macula, the part of the eye that's responsible for your sharpest and most detailed vision, begins to thin and break down, causing vision loss. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness. Early signs and common symptoms of of AMD include the following:
- Visual distortions, such as straight lines seeming bent.
- Reduced central vision in one or both eyes.
- The need for brighter light when reading or doing close-up work.
- Increased difficulty adapting to low light levels.
- Increased blurriness of printed words.
There’s no surefire way to prevent AMD. However, there are things you can do to delay its onset or reduce its severity if you’ve already been diagnosed. Here are 5 tips to protect your eye health and reduce your chances of getting AMD:
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can speed up AMD damage, so if you need one more reason to quit (or never start) smoking, this is your sign.
- Wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats when outdoors as sunlight is thought to promote age-related macular degeneration. If you wear prescription sunglasses, keep EyKuver handy to protect your eyes when outside.
- Eat the rainbow. Research suggests that certain nutrients help prevent macular degeneration. Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables as the antioxidants are thought to be beneficial. Specifically, vitamins C, E, lutein and zeaxanthin, and minerals zinc and copper, may help slow the progress of advanced AMD.
- Add more omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish, nuts, seeds and algae to your diet and/or consider supplementing with a high quality fish oil.
- Maintain a healthy weight and normal blood pressure. High blood pressure restricts the amount of oxygen getting to your eyes which can increase your risk for developing AMD.