Depiction of How the Progression of Macular Degeneration Can Appear
Macular Degeneration Overview
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, and one of the most common worldwide causes of vision loss. Macular degeneration affects more than five million people in the United States alone, and will grow to affect more than ten million people in the near future. Macular Degeneration is often referred to as AMD (advanced Macular Degeneration), which more specifically references the advanced stage of the disease that leads to vision loss.
Macular degeneration typically results from the deterioration of eye tissues caused by aging, and in some cases, the development of excess blood vessels in the cornea. Macular degeneration usually affects the center of the eye, starting as a blurred area, and then progressing into a blind spot that can result in legal blindness.
Can Macular Degeneration Be Prevented?
Macular degeneration is largely a genetic disease, although there are many other factors that may increase or decrease the likelihood of developing the condition. See the list below for other factors that may affect the development of AMD. Because Macular degeneration is heavily influenced by genetics, it may not be entirely possible to prevent the condition, although it is possible to decrease the likelihood of developing advanced stages of the disease.
With the current prevalence of Macular Degeneration, it’s important to know common lifestyle choices that can not only decrease the likelihood of losing eyesight, but can improve the quality of one’s overall health as well.
How to Decrease the Risk of Developing AMD
- Be Fit, Stay Active! Like many other diseases, staying active and keeping in shape has been proven to decrease the odds of developing advanced AMD.
- Eat Your Fruits and Veggies! Nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are important for supporting healthy vision. Nutrients such as Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Lutein, and Beta Carotene are found naturally in nutrient dense fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and blueberries.
- Quit Smoking! Much like obesity, smokers are found to be at a higher risk for developing eye diseases such as AMD. Smoking more than doubles the risk for developing AMD.
- Protect Your Eyes From UV Rays! Much like skin cancer, exposure to damaging UltraViolet radiation can increase the risk of developing macular degeneration. Instead, protect your eyes with polarized sunglasses, and UV blocking contact lenses when outdoors.
- Supplement With AREDS Vitamins! The national eye institute’s standard AREDS formula has been proven to decrease the likelihood of development and advancement of macular degeneration. This formula is standard in most popular eye vitamins, including brands such as Ocuvite, Eye Science, and Viteyes.