February is National Age-related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

February 3rd, 2016 by Carolina Eye Associates

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50 so it pays to know the facts and take action to protect yourself and your loved ones. AMD affects part of the back of the eye called the macula, the central part of the retina. This can cause the center part of your vision to become blurry or wavy. It could also cause a blind spot in the center of your vision which results in an inability to perform tasks such as reading and driving, and can eventually lead to blindness.

Although macular degeneration prevention is possible, there isn’t a foolproof method of avoiding the disease.  There are, however, steps you can take to help reduce your risk.

Pay special attention to prevention if you already have a diagnosis of AMD or if the disease runs in your family. AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss among people older than 60 years of age.  In time, a person with macular degeneration may find it difficult or impossible to read, drive or recognize familiar faces.

Guidelines to help prevent or slow the progression of AMD:

  • Don’t smoke. If you smoke, try to cut down.
  • Eat plenty of dark, leafy green vegetables, such as raw spinach.
  • Ask your eye doctor if one of the AREDS2 vitamin formulations is right for you.
  • Eat fish or take a fish oil supplement.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat fruits and nuts daily.
  • Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates.
  • Work with your medical doctor to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
  • Wear appropriate sunglasses outdoors to block UV rays that may cause eye damage.
  • Schedule regular eye exams.

If you are strongly genetically predisposed to develop macular degeneration, it may still progress. Regular eye exams can help your eye doctor detect AMD early and monitor it so that you can receive proper AMD treatment as soon as you need it.

For more information on macular degeneration call Carolina Eye Associates at (910) 295-2100 or toll-free at (800) 733-5357.

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