Age-related Macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye condition that currently affects as many as 15 million Americans and millions more across the globe. The disease attacks the macula of the eye, where our sharpest central vision occurs, and can only be treated effectively through retinal surgery.
What You Can Do to Help Prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for AMD. If you already smoke, stop now, otherwise do not start in the first place. Smoking doubles the risk of developing macular degeneration.
- Eat your veggies: Studies show that eating plenty of dark leafy greens can help to prevent macular degeneration. Researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have reported that people who consume the most carotenoid-rich vegetables have a 43% lower risk of AMD. Vegetables rich in carotenoid include raw spinach, collard greens, and kale.
- Take multivitamins: For older people, it can be difficult to consume all the nutrients your body needs. Dietary supplements can be essential to overall health as well as eye health.
- Eat fish: Studies show that consuming fish can be beneficial in preventing AMD, and that older men who eat more than two servings of fish weekly are 45% less likely to develop AMD eye disease as those who ate less than one serving.
- Wear sunglasses: Overexposure to direct sunlight does not necessarily cause macular degeneration, but studies have shown a link between AMD and cumulative eye damage from overexposure to UV light.
- Have regular eye exams: The American Academy of Opthalmology recommends an eye exam, at least, every two to three years for individuals between the ages of 45 and 60. People over 60 years old are encouraged to have their eyes examined every year. Eye exams can help your doctor detect and monitor any signs of AMD so that you can receive the proper treatment. Today, over 90% of those with AMD or retinal detachment can be successfully treated.
Following the above instructions will greatly reduce your chance of needing retinal surgery or limited vitrectomy surgery, which is a treatment to remove only the parts of the eye that contain opacities inducing the sensation of floaters. AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in individuals aged 65 and older, and it is preventable.