How to Prevent Macular Degeneration
Macular Degeneration, also called age-related macular degeneration or AMD, is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the world, particularly in people over the age of 50. It is estimated that more than 10 million U.S. adults are affected by the condition – a statistic that makes it more common than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
Macular degeneration happens when the cells of a part of the eye called the macula start to deteriorate with age. These cells are found within the retina, which is responsible for intercepting light as it is refracted through the eye, changing it into signals that are sent up to the brain. The macula plays a very special role in our vision. It is responsible for both our central vision – so what we can see directly in front of us – and more specifically, the fine details in our vision. Unsurprisingly, this means that macular degeneration can have a significant impact on our ability to perform some standard day-to-day tasks that we might otherwise take for granted – such as watching television, driving, reading, and even recognizing the people that we come into contact with.
In the majority of cases, macular degeneration develops very slowly over a number of years. The symptoms of the condition are very subtle, making it hard to detect until it has a considerable impact on the quality of your vision. However, there is another type of AMD that, although rare, develops very quickly.
Unfortunately, any vision loss as a result of either type of macular degeneration is permanent. This makes it even more important that people are aware of the ways in which they might keep the condition at bay. So, how can you prevent macular degeneration?
Watch Your Weight & Overall Health
Studies show that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from a range of different health problems. Some of these health issues can affect the health of your eyes and your vision. For example, high blood pressure makes someone more likely to suffer from glaucoma, which occurs as a result of increased pressure inside the eyes. However, poor circulation due to high blood pressure also restricts blood flow to the eyes, which is something that can increase your risk of developing macular degeneration. A healthy weight and lifestyle are two of the best ways of keeping eye diseases at bay.
You almost certainly already know that smoking is bad for your health. However, do you also know that it can affect the health of your eyes and vision? Studies have shown that smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, causing a range of issues such as slow healing and poor circulation. Smoking also limits how much oxygen can reach the eyes, reduces the effectiveness of antioxidants and the levels of lutein found in the macula – all of which can contribute towards the development of macular degeneration.
Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
All doctors recommend that a balanced diet for whole-body health and wellness. However. There are nutrients that have been proven to be particularly good at keeping our eyes healthy. These include leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach and chard, and oily fish. The contain heaps of antioxidants which can protect against cell changes that would otherwise affect the macula and other areas of the eye and could lead to eye diseases. If you aren’t sure what to eat for the health of your eyes, speak to your eye doctor.
Wear Sunglasses When Outside
UV radiation doesn’t only damage the skin. UVA and UVB can actually penetrate multiple layers of the eyes, causing invisible damage within them that can affect the health of your eyes and your vision. The retina is particularly at risk of damage, and any vision that is lost as a result of retinal damage may not be able to be restored. Eye experts everywhere recommend that everyone protect their eyes from the harmful effects of the sun by wearing sunglasses that have been certified as protecting against at least 95% of UV rays, even on cloudy days.
If you would like more advice on how to prevent macular degeneration, or if you have concerns about your vision and would like expert advice, please don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable team today at 718-565-2020.