Macular degeneration is a condition linked to aging, so it is often called Age-related Macular degeneration or AMD. This condition is a leading cause of blindness in people over the age 60. A person with AMD can gradually or suddenly lose vision in the central part of the retina, called the macula. AMD doesn’t hurt, so it’s important to have regularly scheduled eye exams to determine if you are experiencing vision loss. You should be particularly concerned if you are over age 60, have high blood pressure, smoke, or have a family history of AMD.
What causes it?
The exact cause of AMD is not known, but research indicates that the pigment in the macula becomes depleted over time. This may be caused by free radicals, which are found in high concentrations in the macula and can harm cell membranes. Researchers believe that antioxidant compounds found in certain foods (kale, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, yellow corn, persimmons, tangerine) and ocular vitamins reduce the effect of free radicals on the macula. Check out my previously blog posts with healthy eye recipes for ideas how to get these compounds!
Is there a cure?
There is no cure, but the disease can by managed. Our practice is experienced in monitoring your eye health and recommending treatment if it is needed. Good eye health care can minimize the damage that AMD can do to your vision.
What can I do?
- Come in for your annual eye examinations
- Contact us if you notice that straight lines appear wavy, it’s difficult to distinguish colors, you can’t see details (faces or words in a book) or dark or empty spots block the center of your vision.
- Eat large amount of the antioxidant compounds or take ocular vitamins recommended by our office.
- If you smoke, quit smoking. Speak to you family physician about a smoking cessation program.