Besides blurred vision, straight lines may appear wavy if you have age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Other symptoms include objects appearing smaller than they actually are. It’s also common for AMD patients to see an empty or dark spot in their central vision. As many as 11 million Americans, primarily older people aged over 60, are affected by this condition. It’s sadly one of the leading causes of irreversible visual impairment and blindness worldwide. Like any known disease, there are risk factors that may make you more susceptible to AMD. These include gender, advancing age, and family history, among others.
Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to prevent macular degeneration from developing in the first place, including:
Experts agree that this should be your number one consideration if you want to protect yourself from AMD. Numerous pieces of evidence show that those who smoke are four times more likely to develop macular degeneration.
Other studies suggest that you can prevent AMD by incorporating dark, leafy greens into your diet. Vegetables like kale and spinach are rich in carotenoids. Research shows that those who consume carotenoid-rich foods are less likely to suffer from AMD by as much as 43 percent. Data is compared to people who ate these types of foods the least.
A 2014 research found that people who ate at least three fruit servings every day had a lower risk of developing advanced AMD. Another study showed that eating nuts can keep early-stage or intermediate cases of AMD from advancing.
Another way to protect yourself from macular degeneration is by eating fish regularly. One study found that senior men who ate the most fish have a 45 percent lower risk of AMD. These participants ate at least two services per week. These findings were compared to those with the lowest fish consumption level, which was less than one serving weekly. Another research suggested the same thing. They found that the subjects who ate fish at least once a week had a 40-percent lower risk of early-stage AMD than those who hardly ate fish in a month or not at all.
You already know how regular exercise can help you stay fit and healthy. But did you know that it can also be crucial for your eye health? A study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology confirmed that an active lifestyle, such as walking at least a couple of miles daily, helps reduce a person’s risk of AMD. Besides, regular exercise can help you control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Both conditions can affect eye health.
There remains no conclusive evidence that too much exposure to sunlight can cause AMD directly. But some studies suggest a link between macular degeneration and cumulative exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. It’s highly recommended that you wear sunglasses that block 100 percent UV light to protect your eyes.
Equally important is getting comprehensive eye examinations regularly. If you are more than 45 years old, you should visit your eye doctor once every two years. Once you reach the age of 60, an annual checkup would be crucial. More frequent visits may be necessary if you have other underlying conditions.
The damage from macular degeneration is irreversible. Don’t wait for any eye disease to affect your quality of life.
Learn more about preventing macular degeneration & blurred vision, contact Abraham Eye Associates in Villanova, PA at (484) 209-0800.