As we age, our eyes become susceptible to a variety of disorders. One of the most common and damaging is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Macular degeneration is the leading cause of fine-vision loss in Americans over the age of 60. Twenty-five percent of adults over the age of 75 have some stage of AMD.
Macular degeneration affects the eye’s macula, which provides you with sharp, central vision. Central vision allows you to see objects clearly and is necessary for tasks such as driving and reading.
The earliest stages of AMD can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam.
Symptoms you may notice with later stages of AMD include:
- Blurred Vision or white out areas in the center of vision
- Straight Lines Appear Crooked
- Changed color perception
It’s important for AMD to be treated as soon as it’s detected. While it can be treated to slow vision loss, treatment cannot restore lost vision.
Of course, the best approach with macular degeneration is to work to prevent it in the first place. And there are some ways that researchers think you can help to reduce your risk of developing AMD:
- 1. Limit Your Intake of “Bad” Fats. A 2001 study done by the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary found that diets high in bad fats could increase a person’s risk of developing AMD by two-fold. These bad fats are the ones found commonly in processed snack foods such as chips, French fries, and commercially prepared packaged cookies, cakes, pies. Margarine contains linoleic acid, another “bad” fat that you should also avoid. Increase Your Intake of Omega-3 Fats. While some fats may increase the risk of AMD, Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to reduce the risk of AMD. Omega 3s are found in high concentrations in salmon and albacore tuna. You should strive for 2 or more weekly servings of these fish. Omega-3s can also be found in walnuts and flaxseed, or you can purchase it in capsule form.
- 2. Eat a Diet High in Fruits and Vegetables. Vegetables and fruits are good for your health on any day, but dark green, leafy vegetables are particularly important when trying to prevent AMD. These vegetables include kale, collards, spinach, and broccoli.
- 3. Don’t Smoke: Smoking is a well-known risk factor in macular degeneration.
- 4. Schedule a Routine Eye Exam. Of course, there is no guarantee that even the most conscientious and healthy adults still won’t develop macular degeneration. All adults over the age of forty should have a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years. Accent On Eyes recommends that adults over the age of sixty have a yearly ophthalmology exam. Catching and treating AMD is the best way to protect your eyes against long-term vision loss.
While the conditions that can affect our eyes and vision multiply in later life, there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed when you’re in the hands of a competent vision team. The ophthalmologists at Accent on Eyes are here to help keep your eyes in optimal health regardless of your age. Contact our Gainesville office to schedule an appointment or if you’re concerned about macular degeneration or another vision condition.