It’s always important to make and keep eye doctor visits, but it’s especially important as you age. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the number one reason for loss of vision in people 50 or older.
Significant vision loss usually changes your life in dramatic ways. Driving may no longer be a possibility. The loss may necessitate changing jobs, the loss of a job, and/or loss of income.
Our board-certified ophthalmologists with Wolchok Eye Associates, PA treat many patients with macular degeneration. AMD appears in two types: dry and wet.
About 80 percent of people with macular degeneration have dry AMD. The back of the retina, or the macula, thins with age. Protein clusters appear, causing loss of central vision. You won’t be able to see things right in front of you clearly. The onset of dry AMD is slow, so you likely won’t realize you have the condition until a late stage when your vision starts blurring. That’s why it’s important to have regular eye examinations.
Wet AMD is less common but more serious. Fluid builds up in the macula and the onset can be fairly sudden, leading to complete loss of central vision.
What can I do to prevent or slow the progression of macular degeneration?
Research shows that a healthy lifestyle helps lower your risk of AMD. What does that mean in terms of behavior and habits? Following are research-based strategies to lessen your chances of developing AMD.
If you smoke, you’re four times more likely to get AMD than a nonsmoker. Why increase your risk needlessly? Join a smoking cessation program to improve your overall health as well as your eye health.
Eat healthy/stay at a healthy weight
If you’re significantly overweight or obese, you have a higher risk of AMD than people at a normal weight. Studies show a “potentially linear relationship” between BMI (Body Mass Index) and risk of AMD.
If your diet is heavy on saturated fats such as meat, butter, and cheese, work with a nutritionist to make healthier choices. Researchers think that fats can influence changes in the blood vessels in the eye and affect bodily processes, which spur advanced stages of AMD.
Heart disease and high cholesterol can place you at greater risk for AMD. Lower your risk by eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, and poultry instead of fatty red meat and sweet treats loaded with butter. Dark leafy greens contain lutein, an antioxidant that may lessen your susceptibility to AMD.
Research studies show that the following nutritional supplements may help prevent or slow the progression of AMD:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Work to lower your blood pressure
If your blood pressure is elevated, be sure to stay on your prescribed medication. When your blood pressure is high, it can restrict the oxygen your eyes need to stay healthy and lead to AMD.
Treatments for macular degeneration
At Wolchok Eye Associates, we provide the most advanced state-of-the-art treatments available for macular degeneration. You may benefit from low vision rehab or telescopic lens implantation if you have dry AMD, and there are several treatment options for wet AMD.
Call Wolchok Eye Associates, PA in Jacksonville, Florida or book an appointment online today for a comprehensive eye exam. We’re your partner for your eye health.