Macular Degeneration is one of several concerning eye conditions that affects older adults. According to statistical data, more people are affected by macular degeneration than by cataracts and glaucoma combined. Millions of people in our country have been diagnosed with this condition, for which there is no cure.
Dry Macular Degeneration
Dry macular Degeneration affects approximately 80-90% of individuals with AMD. Its cause is unknown, it tends to progress more slowly than the wet type, and there is not—as of yet—an approved treatment or cure. In dry age-related macular degeneration, small white or yellowish deposits, called drusen, form on the retina beneath the macula (where our central vision comes from) causing it to deteriorate or degenerate over time.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet Macular Degeneration affects approximately 10-15% of individuals with age-related macular degeneration, but accounts for approximately 90% of all cases of severe vision loss from the disease. In wet age-related macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels under the retina begin to grow toward the macula. Because these new blood vessels are abnormal, they tend to break, bleed, and leak fluid, damaging the macula and causing it to lift up and pull away from its base. This can result in a rapid and severe loss of central vision.
Because it is a prominent cause of blindness, Macular Degeneration is a problem you want to do your best to avoid. The question is, can you?
Certain people are inherently at an increased risk for Macular Degeneration, which affects the retina and, thus, central vision. If you have a family history of this condition, you are encouraged to implement healthy habits into your lifestyle. Through certain steps, you can nourish your eyes, and protect them from degenerative disease.
- Maintain routine checkups with your eye doctor. While there is no guarantee that macular degeneration can be entirely prevented, there are significant benefits to early detection and treatment.
- Check your vision using an Amsler grid. Click here to access one. If you see wavy lines instead of a perfect grid, we recommend seeing your eye doctor for a dilated eye exam.
- The eyes, like the rest of the body, benefit from certain vitamins and nutrients. Consuming beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, and zinc supports healthy eyes.
- Fish oil is also beneficial for the vessels and tissues that support eye health. If fish is not pleasing to your palate, try a non-fishy supplement.
- Smoking is bad for your health and for your eyes. In fact, smokers are at a significantly higher risk for macular degeneration later in life. So don’t smoke.
- Nourish the eyes by eating nuts and fresh fruits.
- Add an extra serving of green leafy vegetables to your plate each day; your eyes will thank you.
- Reduce oxidative stress on the eyes and the body by limiting your intake of refined carbohydrates.
- Keep your weight steady with a healthy diet and daily exercise.
- Discuss blood pressure and cholesterol management with your family physician, as elevated levels affect eye health.
- Wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays.
-Schedule your eye exam today by calling us at 718-676-6464.