Five tips to protect against age-related macular degeneration
Older people have a heightened risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a leading cause of blindness amongst people over 70 years old. The disease damages the central vision. It limits the person’s ability to read, write and recognise faces.
Fortunately, there are several steps that people can take to lower their risk of losing vision due to AMD.
Studies have shown that smoking increases the risk of developing AMD. As well as the speed at which it progresses. If you smoke, you are twice as likely to develop macular degeneration compared to a non-smoker.
If you have a close relative with AMD, you, unfortunately, have a 50% chance of developing the condition. When you see your ophthalmologist, tell them about your family’s eye health history. Make sure that they look carefully at your macula and do an OCT and also an Optos Californian SLO. Always keep an Amsler chart in your kitchen and have a look at it each day to test your central vision, one eye at a time. Do this test with your reading glasses on.
Eat a diet rich in Omega 3’s and low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Studies have shown that people who had a reduced risk of AMD had diets rich in Omega 3 fatty acid, such as fish. And studies have shown that increased AMD risk occurs in individuals who have a higher intake of saturated fats and cholesterol.
Many studies show that getting regular exercise can help benefit your eyes. One study found that exercising three times a week reduced the risk of developing wet AMD by 70%. Wet AMD which is a more serious form of the disease.
People with early-stage AMD may not have any obvious symptoms. An ophthalmologist can detect early signs of the eye disease through a comprehensive eye examination. People aged 65 or above should have an examination every one to two years. There is still a worrying lack of awareness when it comes to AMD, despite it being the number one cause of blindness in seniors (older folk). You may be putting yourselves at risk by not taking the early steps to care for your vision. Regular eye exams and lifestyle changes can help you maintain your vision as you get older.