Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in older people. Patients diagnosed with AMD notice their central vision becoming blurry as the overall quality of their sight progressively worsens. This occurs because the macula, located in the central portion of the retina, slowly deteriorates.
Although researchers have yet to identify a cure for AMD, eye doctors have treatments to slow the rate at which AMD steals your sight. The knowledgeable eye team at Schwartz Laser Eye Center offers a few useful strategies to help you preserve as much of your vision as possible.
Adopt a Good Diet
Eat meals that include plenty of fruits and vegetables — particularly berries, kale and spinach, which are high in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin — since they have been proven to slow the progression of AMD. Research has also found that foods with high levels of zinc (meats, cheese, whole grains) produce better outcomes for patients with AMD. And by eating fish and nuts with high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, you may be able to stave off the worst effects of AMD.
Take Vitamins and Supplements
If your diet alone does not provide enough of these necessary nutrients, you can consume them in supplement form. Your doctor may recommend some combination of lutein, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and zeaxanthin.
Research shows that cigarette smoke can cause deposits to form and subsequently thicken in the retina, worsening AMD. Considering that smokers are many times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers, never starting this habit is, of course, even better.
Undergo Anti-VEGF Treatments
Your body produces vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) proteins, which are typically useful in generating new blood vessels. However, if you have wet macular degeneration, these new blood vessels are prone to leaking in the retina, blurring or distorting central vision. Anti-VEGF treatments are painless injections to the eye that have proven successful at blocking ocular blood vessel generation in most patients.
This laser treatment uses heat to seal and destroy abnormal blood vessels in the retina. Once complete, the blood vessels are less likely to leak and cause further damage to your central vision.
Manage Other Health Conditions
If you have been diagnosed with other health problems, follow your doctor’s instructions to manage these conditions as they may aggravate your AMD. For example, having high blood pressure limits the amount of oxygen that reaches your eyes, which puts you at increased risk for AMD. Similarly, your risk for AMD increases if you have heart disease. By taking prescribed medications that address high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, you may also be helping to save your vision in the process.
Discuss AMD Strategies with the Experts
The experts at Schwartz Laser Eye Center have helped to diagnose and treat patients with AMD in Scottsdale, Glendale, Phoenix and Mesa. To learn more about this condition and ways to preserve your vision well into your old age, please schedule an appointment online or call (480) 483-3937.