Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common problem impacting more than one in three people. More than 200,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. This is a progressive eye condition Nearly 15 million American adults suffer from it. Millions more are affected worldwide. The macula of the eye is attacked by the disease causing severe vision loss and blindness. It is the leading cause of both in Americans who are over 60 years old. People become more susceptible to the problem as they age with between 14 and 24% of people aged 65 to 74 having some degree of AMD. This rate increases to between 35 and 40% of people over 74 years old. While it is important to have regular eye check ups to catch AMD early, there is no one set macular degeneration treatment.
When people hear that there is no real macular degeneration treatment, it can be scary. There are things people can do to prevent getting this eye disease.
- Do not smoke tobacco. Research shows that people who smoke are up to four times more likely to develop AMD. This makes quitting smoking, or not starting, the single best thing you can do for your eye health and to prevent AMD.
- Get more carotenoids in your diet. People who get lots of these compounds in their diet can reduce their risk for AMD by nearly 43%. How do you get more carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. They can be found in dark, leafy greens like spinach, collard greens and the new wonder food, kale.
- Take your vitamins. As we age, we stop taking in all the vitamins and minerals from our diets that we need to stay healthy. While the best way to get what we need is to get it from our diets, the next best thing is to take vitamins every day. This is especially good to prevent AMD and one macular degeneration treatment is increasing the intake of certain vitamins. Your doctor or nutritionist can work with you to make sure you are getting the right amount of vitamins from your supplements.
- Talk to your doctor about AREDS supplements. The age related eye disease study (AREDS) looked at vitamin intake and eye disease in older adults. The National Eye Institute (NEI) ran the study to look at vitamins and macular degeneration treatment in California. Taking this combination of vitamins has been shown to slow the progression of AMD in people who have been diagnosed with early or intermediate stages of AMD. The supplements contain vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin E (400 IU), beta carotene (15 mg), zinc oxide (80 mg) and copper or cupric oxide (2 mg). In 2001, the NEI study confirmed people who have a high risk of developing AMD can reduce their chances of developing it by 25%.
- Get more fish in your diet. Eating a lot of fish, at least two servings a week, can reduce your chances of developing AMD by as much as 45%. The more fish you eat, the better. In one study, people who ate fish three times a week showed the lowest risk for AMD.
- Get more exercise. There are few medical problems that cannot be made better by working out more. Exercising and keeping your weight at a healthy level is a great way to prevent AMD. Cardio workouts are some of the best at preventing this kind of eye disease.
- Get more nuts and fruits in your diet. The Harvard Medical School research has found that people who eat three or more servings of fruit and nuts every day can slow the progression of AMD. This should not be considered a macular degeneration treatment but is a way to prevent the disease.
- Cut processed carbs out of your diet. Eating foods with a higher glycemic index rating such asandnbsp;white bread, white rolls, baked white potatoes, donuts and pretzels has been shown to increase a person’s chances for developing AMD.
Diseases that impact the macula are scary because this the part of the eye that is responsible for our clearest vision. This is what makes this and other conditions such as macular pucker so devastating. The bottom line is that if you have a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent AMD.