Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in individuals 50 and older. Also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the disease is more prevalent than glaucoma and cataracts combined.
The condition causes deterioration of the macula, the back part of the eye, resulting in gradual loss of vision. It affects central vision, but peripheral vision may remain unaffected. Find out how to defend your sight and reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Consume a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet containing plenty of green leafy vegetables can reduce the risk of AMD. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants often called macular pigments, as the macula contains high concentrations.
Consuming vegetables containing carotenoid antioxidants can reduce the risk of AMD by over 40%. It can also result in a significant reduction in AMD progression. Eye-healthy vegetables include kale, collard greens, and spinach.
Getting Regular Exercise
Exercise is beneficial for overall body health, including eye health. You can protect your eyesight and reduce your risk of developing AMD through regular exercise. Increasing daily activity and leading an active lifestyle can reduce the risk by up to 70%. Your healthcare provider can recommend the best workouts to improve your overall health. Ensure you contact your doctor before you embark on a new exercise regimen.
Studies show that smoking can increase the risk of developing AMD fourfold. For individuals with a family history of the disease, the risk can increase almost 20 times. Cigarette smoke contains toxic chemicals that can affect the retina.
It causes cells to age faster, increasing the risk of retinal thinning. Vision and ocular health are at great risk as smoking narrows blood vessels. It reduces antioxidants in the body affecting the protection required to maintain health.
Wearing Eye Protection
Wearing UV protective sunglasses can help to defend your eyesight by preventing overexposure to UV rays. Studies show that exposure to blue light and UV rays can result in retinal damage. It can increase the risk of AMD.
Choose sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection, and remember that UV exposure can occur even on cloudy days. Wear eye protection any time you go outdoors. If you wear prescription glasses, talk to your eye doctor about UV protection lenses.
Controlling Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Hypertension or high blood pressure can lead to poor blood circulation, restricting blood flow to the eyes. It can increase the risk of developing AMD. Also, high cholesterol can lead to obesity, increasing the risk of AMD. Cholesterol buildup in the blood vessels can prevent effective blood flow to the eyes and around the body. Therefore, taking medication and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise can reduce the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels.
Other things you can do to defend your sight and reduce the risk of AMD include increasing your intake of omega-3. If your diet does not contain adequate vitamins and other minerals, taking vitamin supplements can help.
Scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams will allow your doctor to monitor your eye health and look for signs of AMD. Eye doctors recommend eye exams every two years for individuals over 45 and annually for those over 60.
For more on defending your sight and reducing the risk of macular degeneration, visit Abraham Eye Associates. Our office is in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Call (484) 209-0800 to book an appointment today.