Nearly 18 million Americans have a form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This number has grown significantly over the years. If you are familiar with this degenerative disease, you may wonder what you can do to prevent irreversible central vision loss.
Although there is no certain way to prevent AMD, there are many steps you can take to significantly lower your risks for this disease. Below, the eye doctors at Schwartz Laser Eye Center share some of their best suggestions to keep your eyes and vision healthy well into your old age.
Tips for AMD Prevention
First and foremost, do not smoke. Research shows it to be the single largest risk factor for developing AMD, with smokers being anywhere from two to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers.
Maintaining a healthy diet is also critical. Foods with carotenoids are most beneficial because these are antioxidants that help ward off disease. Look for leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach that contain lutein and zeaxanthin to maximize the benefits for your eyes. Studies have also found that consuming fish, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can significantly reduce your risk of developing AMD and late-stage AMD.
Keep your body healthy by engaging in regular exercise. If you know your diet is lacking in vitamins and minerals, take supplements like multivitamins.
Finally, wear sunglasses when outdoors during the daylight. Ultraviolet rays and blue light can damage your retina, which can contribute to macular degeneration. For the best results, look for sunglasses that advertise 100% UVA and UVB protection.
What Happens If I Do Develop AMD?
Early to intermediate dry AMD has slight symptoms. Your best chance of detecting AMD early is with comprehensive eye exams. That is why it is important to schedule annual examinations, especially when middle aged and older. Since AMD has a strong genetic link, the need for tests increases exponentially if you have a parent or sibling with the disease.
Currently, there is no cure for macular degeneration. However, there are lifestyle modifications you can adopt to avoid later stages of AMD that rob you of your vision. Treatments are also available to slow AMD’s progression. The knowledgeable eye doctors at Schwartz Laser Eye Center can devise a plan that should allow you to maintain your sight throughout your life.
Receive Care for AMD
At Schwartz Laser Eye Center, premier ophthalmologist Dr. Jay Schwartz is joined by a team of talented optometrists who have helped many patients to manage their AMD. If you have been diagnosed with AMD and want the best possible care in the Scottsdale, Glendale, Phoenix, and Mesa area, please make an appointment by calling (480) 483-3937.