Tips for Avoiding Macular Degeneration
How can you reduce your risk of macular degeneration?
Presently, macular degeneration is a primary cause of vision loss in America, affecting more people than glaucoma and cataracts combined. Here are some proactive measures you can take that are helpful for reducing the risk macular degeneration.
- Annual comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist. Look for an optometrist that takes their time with each patient and has advanced technology that takes a picture of the eye.
- Take and AREDS2 formula vitamin
- Practice healthy lifestyle choices
- Wear UV and Blue Light protection
84% of American's With AMD were Unaware
Since vision loss due to macular degeneration is extremely devastating and most cases are not identified until serious and irreversible vision loss has occured, it is extremely important to schedule annual eye exams. While there are many studies that look promising for the future, currently there is no treatment for AMD.
Being proactive starts with annual eye exams with an optometrist that uses the latest technology to identify for early signs of AMD before any permanent damage has occurred.
The optical coherence tomographer and fundus photographer provide a detailed cross-sectional image and data of the retina and providing your optometrist an exceptional tool for the detection of macular degeneration.
The AdaptDX is a revolutionary new technology for early detection of AMD that looks at our eye's ability to adjust from dark to light as a marker for early AMD. The ALSTAR study demonstrated that dark adaptation identifies AMD at least 3 years before the disease is clinically evident.
Wear UV & Blue Light Protection
While there are many studies that show that UV and blue light exposure increase the risk of Macular Degeneration. There is still no consensus as some studies show that they do not increase the risk. The International Academy of Low Vision specialists assists people with low vision due to macular degeneration and see the potential risk as very real and damaging. Based on the severity of the risk and the higher amount of studies that show risk from exposure to UV and Blue light it is our opinion to err on the side of caution.
What to look for with UV protection?
- Consider photochromic lenses automatically darken in bright environments.
- According to the AOA the lenses should block out 99%+ of both UV A and UV B rays.
What to look for with Blue Light protection?
- Look for filtering of blue light from 400 to 460 nanometers with a focus on maximum filtration at 415nm-455nm.
- The higher the percentage of filtration the better, look for 35% or higher filtration across the whole spectrum of blue light.
Eat a nutritious diet
- A diet high in Omega fatty acids, especially omega 3, has been shown to reduce the occurrence of AMD. To get the equivalent of 1200 mg per day you would need to eat 5 oz of Salmon and even greater quantities of most other fish. Therefore it is generally recommended to take fish oil tablets to ensure the best protection. If you eat fish daily, make sure to include fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Good choices include sardines, mackerel, salmon, albacore tuna, and herring. Walnuts, Flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts are also loaded with omega 3.
- Eat green, leafy vegetables (such as spinach and kale), which are packed with carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. The AREDS2 study showed that lutein and zeaxanthin provide protection against macular degeneration.
- Stay away from high-fat foods and a high-fat diet.
According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, regular smokers greatly increase their chances of developing macular degeneration. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the higher your risk of AMD. The good news is that even if you’ve been smoking for years, quitting smoking goes far towards prevention and avoiding macular degeneration.
A study that was conducted of about 4,000 seniors over a 15-year span, called the Beaver Dam Eye Study, found that people who exercised three or more times a week lowered their risk of developing wet macular degeneration. Even a half an hour a day of moderate physical activity, such as walking, can reduce your chances of AMD.
Do You Know Someone With Macular Degeneration?
If you have a friend or loved one that struggles with vision loss due to Macular Degeneration let them know that there is more that can be done. The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists helps patients across the US and Internationally to maximize their remaining vision in order to regain their independence. Advances in technology have made reading, using a computer, seeing faces, and even driving, something that can be often accomplished with custom optics and electronic aids.