by Arghavan Almony, MD
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people age 50 and older, so it pays to know the facts and take action to protect yourself and your loved ones. AMD affects part of the back of the eye called the macula, the central part of the retina. This can cause the center part of your vision to become blurry or wavy. It could also cause a blind spot in the center of your vision, which results in an inability to perform tasks such as reading and driving, and can eventually lead to blindness.
You should pay special attention to prevention if you already have a diagnosis of macular degeneration (AMD), or if you are older and the disease runs in your family. AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss among elderly people. In time, a person with macular degeneration may find it difficult or impossible to read, drive or recognize familiar faces.
There are ways to help reduce your risk and prevent or slow the progression of AMD, including:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat plenty of dark, leafy green vegetables.
- Eat fish or take a fish oil supplement.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat fruit and nuts daily.
- Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates.
- Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
- Have regular eye exams.
- Wear appropriate sunglasses outdoors to block UV rays that may cause eye damage.
- If you have AMD, ask your doctor about one of the AREDS formulations, such as FocusSelect.
If you’re genetically predisposed to develop macular degeneration, it still may develop and worsen. Regular eye exams can help your eye doctor detect AMD and monitor it so that you can receive proper AMD treatment.
Dr. Almony, a retina and vitreous specialist at Carolina Eye Associates, can be reached at call 800-733-5357 or visit www.carolinaeye.com.