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What is Macular Degeneration and How Can You Prevent It?

Posted // Tuesday, June 18, 2013
By: Dr. Lydia Lane

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to join Tom Brannon on THV11 to provide awareness and information on macular degeneration, an eye disease common in people 65 and older that can cause you to lose areas of your vision and hinder daily activities such as reading or driving and even lead to blindness.

You can watch the interview below and read more about macular degeneration and how you can prevent it.

What is Macular Degeneration?

The inside of the eye is lined with a delicate tissue called the Retina. This takes all that we see, processes it into a signal and then send this to our brains to tell us what we are seeing. Ninety-nine percent of our vision is concentrated into one VERY small area of the retina called the Macula. In some people the macula can begin to deteriorate.  If this area deteriorates you might notice that there are areas of your vision that are missing or distorted.  This makes it very difficult to read and see faces or even watch television.

How is it treated?

There are two types of macular degeneration:

  • Dry, which is treated with vitamins to prevent progression
  • Wet (fluid leaking into the macula), which is treated by a retina specialist with medicine and sometimes laser to help prevent more damage.

Can you prevent AMD?

It’s important to know your risk factors. If you have any of these risks factors or have noticed symptoms of waviness or blurred vision and are concerned then visit your eye care professional for an exam.

Here are the risk factors that most likely lead to causing macular degeneration:

  • Having a family member with this issue
  • Smoking
  • Age over  60
  • High Blood Pressure or Cholesterol
  • Overweight
  • A diet low in Vitamins A, C, and E

You can also adjust your lifestyle to help reduce your risk. Here are a few tips to fighting off macular degeneration:

  • Eat green vegetables like:
    • spinach
    • kale
    • collard greens
    • broccoli
    • asparagus
  • Stop Smoking
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Watch your cholesterol

It’s important to know what to watch for and how to prevent macular degeneration. It is definitely treatable, so be sure to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist if you think yours or a loved one’s sight may be affected by macular degeneration.