Stay Focused To Avoid Age-Related Macular Degeneration

If your parent or grandparent has recently been diagnosed with macular degeneration, what does it mean for you?  Are you destined to have the same problems?  Or can you do something now to protect yourself? 

First, What is It?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition in which the macula – tissue in the center of the retina – deteriorates and eventually causes obstructions in a person's central vision.  The early stage is called dry AMD, while the later stages are referred to as wet AMD. AMD can cause significant problems for patients because it often creates blurry or blocked vision where clarity is needed most – straight ahead. 

Will it Affect You?

It's not entirely clear what causes macular degeneration in older persons.  But heredity is often a factor.  Therefore, it's important to be aware of the symptoms and have regular eye exams if there is a history of this illness in your family members. 

But not all cases are attributable to family history.  Smoking has been linked to a risk of AMD that's four times higher than average.  Other things that may have caused the disease in your family members include poor nutrition, obesity, cholesterol or cardiovascular disease. 

Since it's impossible to know the root cause behind your parent or grandparent's case, don't assume that you will get AMD just because they did.  But stay vigilant about the signs. 

What Can You Do Now

As mentioned above, the most important thing to do is watch for symptoms and talk with your eye doctor about your concerns.  He or she can perform regular exams of the back of your eyes for yellow deposits of drusen that are a symptom of AMD.  In addition, an examination using a tool called an Amsler grid can test for defects in your center vision. 

Another way to help protect yourself is with some nutritional changes.  Some studies indicate that coldwater fish or nuts that contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids may help provide protection.  In addition, doctors recommend adopting a healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats (like olive oil). 

Finally, certain supplements that are used for treatment of the early stages of macular degeneration (dry AMD).  These include such things as:

  •                 Vitamin C
  •                 Vitamin E
  •                 Beta carotene
  •                 Zinc
  •                 Copper
  •                 Lutein
  •                 Zeaxanthin

The best medicine for those who worry about getting age-related macular degeneration is preventive medicine.  For most, this means regular eye exams and better nutrition.  By taking charge of your eye health, you increase your own outlook for a life of healthy vision. Talk to experts like Las Vegas Family Eye Care for more information.