All You Need to Know About Preventing AMD

Although doctors are not entirely sure what causes age-related macular degeneration, they do know what factors increase your risk of developing this condition in old age.

Did you know that, according to World Health Organization, over 80% of all vision impairment can be prevented or cured? Unfortunately, age-related macular degeneration is among those conditions that can be cured, but there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of vision loss.

What Is Age-related Macular Degeneration?

AMD, or age-related macular degeneration, is a disease that causes damage to a small spot in your retina, called macula. The macula is responsible for sharp, central vision, which is why AMD leads to blurred or spotted vision. While this condition doesn’t cause total blindness, having impaired central vision can make it difficult for you to see faces, drive, read, write, and many other everyday activities.

In the majority cases, AMD occurs in people over 60 years of age, but it can happen earlier. For most people, the progress of the condition is slow and gradual, and their sight is lost little by little, whereas a small percentage of the affected can lose their vision completely, and in a much shorter time frame.

How to Prevent Age-related Macular Degeneration

People with a family history of AMD are at higher risk of developing this disease in their golden years, but it’s not the only risk factor. Lifestyle plays a big role when it comes to health in senior age, and there are a few simple changes you can make to minimize your chance of vision loss.

Here are simple but effective ways to prevent AMD- some of these things you can start doing today:

  • Quit smoking: Along with a myriad of health problems cigarettes cause them, smokers are four times as likely to develop AMD.
  • Exercise regularly: A study found that an active lifestyle (walking at least 6 miles per week) dramatically reduces your chance of having macular degeneration.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Healthy weight and cholesterol levels are essential for your overall well-being, but they also have a role in preventing vision loss in senior years.
  • Get your eyes checked regularly: Early stages of age-related macular degeneration don’t have any symptoms, which means it can be diagnosed only through a thorough eye exam. Of course, starting treatment on time will improve your chances, so don’t skip yearly visits to the ophthalmologist!

Coping with age-related macular degeneration and impaired vision is not easy. Losing your sight is something that profoundly affects your life, from changing how you go about your everyday activities, to big picture adjustments you need to make. Even though there is no guaranteed method that prevents this condition, there are certain lifestyle changes that significantly improve your chances. Start taking care of your eyesight in time, and you’ll be able to fully enjoy your golden years!

Photo credit: Milos Batinic/Shutterstock

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