Macular Degeneration is a problem with your retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. There are many factors that contribute to someone having macular degeneration. While macular degeneration cannot be prevented, the risks can be significantly reduced. Pay attention to prevention tips so that you are playing an active role in prolonging your ability to see as clearly as possible.
Age Related Macular Degeneration
Studies have shown that there are many healthy lifestyle choices that can significantly reduce the risk of age-related Macular Degeneration. Healthy choices may include:
- Quit smoking! This is THE NUMBER 1 WAY TO PREVENT MACULAR DEGENERATION! If you are not a smoker, stay that way! If you are currently a smoker, quitting now exponentially reduces the progression of Age Related Macular Degeneration.
- Micronutrient supplements with a formula containing the following:
- 10 milligrams (mg) of lutein
- 2 mg of zeaxanthin
- 500 mg of vitamin C
- 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin E
- 80 mg of zinc oxide
- 2 mg of cupric oxide
- Diet of foods rich in antioxidants and high in carotenoids, like luetein and zeaxanthin as well as flavonoids like anthocyanin. Such foods may include:
- Dark green leafy vegetables (like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens)
- Green peas
- Summer squash
- Brussel sprouts
- Romaine lettuce
- Limiting simple carbohydrates, like flour and white sugar, also has been proven to slow or reduce the risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration because they cause blood sugar to spike and then drop when they are consumed. When eaten regularly, the inflammation that can be caused by this rapid change can cause harmful effects on the retina. Instead, eat complex carbs, which are rich in fiber and metabolize more slowly. Complex carbs include:
- Whole grains, such as barley, quinoa, buckwheat, and whole-wheat bread and pasta
- Fiber-rich fruits, such as apples, bananas, berries
- Fiber-rich vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, corn, and carrots
- Beans and legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans
- Maintaining a healthy blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration by restricting the amount of blood flow to the vascular layer of blood vessels around the choroid.
- Limited sun exposure and wear sunglasses with a UV rating of at least 400 as well as glasses that protect your eyes from blue light
- Routine eye exams. Eye exams need to be a part of your routine health care, especially as you increase in age. A baseline of your eye health can help an optometrist be able to monitor overall eye health and track diseases, such as macular degeneration, specifically.
By making simple changes in your life, you may be able to significantly decrease the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that causes progressive and often irreversible retinal damage and vision loss. Always remember that you are worth the work of self-care! The optometrists at the Eye Center of Northern Colorado believe in enhancing the quality of life by improving eye health and vision through compassionate care, state-of-the-art technology, and exceptional patient service.
We would love to serve you and your vision needs. Please visit our website at https://www.eyecenternoco.com/ or call us at (970) 221-2222 today!