Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among elderly people in the U.S. The disease affects the macula, which is the part of the retina that is responsible for sharp, central vision. There are currently about 1.75 million Americans who have AMD, and that number is expected to grow to almost 3 million by 2020. However, there are several ways to reduce your risk or prevent AMD. The trusted eye experts at Collins Vision offer the following tips for prolonging your eye health and preventing AMD.
- Don’t smoke. Research has shown smokers are up to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers. One British study found smoking was associated with about 25 percent of AMD cases causing severe vision loss. Smoking also increases the risk for cataracts, and dry eyes.
- Eat green, leafy vegetables. Vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce your risk for AMD. The best sources for these eye-friendly nutrients are dark, leafy vegetables including raw spinach, kale and collard greens. Other foods that contain these nutrients are eggs, corn and carrots. For an extra vision boost, you can take dietary supplements containing lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Eat more fish. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to prevent AMD or slow its progression. The best source for omega-3 fatty acids is cold water fish, such as salmon and sardines. A study from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary found that senior men who ate more than two servings of fish a week were 45 percent less likely to have AMD than those who ate less than one serving per week. If you’re not a fan of fish, you can take fish-oil supplements available with a non-fishy taste.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection. Overexposure to the sun has been linked to eye damage, including temporary vision loss. Researchers have also found a link between AMD and long-term eye damage. Always wear sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection while outdoors, even during cloudy weather.
- Have regular eye exams. The first step towards good vision is having your eyes checked regularly. A dilated eye exam can check for AMD symptoms. People between the ages of 45 and 60 should have a dilated exam every two or three years, while those over 60 should have a professional eye exam every year.
Collins Vision offers high-quality eye treatment in Fort Myers for various conditions, including macular degeneration. For a one-on-one consultation with one of our trusted eye surgeons, please call (239) 936-4706.