February is National Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, a campaign that aims to raise awareness on the age-related eye disease that compromises central vision. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among people over the age of 65. Though there is no cure, there are several ways to reduce one’s risk of developing AMD. Here, the eye experts at Visual Health outline a few of those ways.
The benefits of exercise are well-documented. One study from the British Journal of Ophthalmology found that exercising regularly can reduce your risk of AMD by as much as 70 percent. Exercising also helps control blood pressure and cholesterol, which in turn also help lower the risk of AMD.
An overwhelming amount of research has found that eating a well-balanced diet can keep the eyes’ health and vision strong. Specifically, eating certain foods and nutrients can reduce your risk of certain eye conditions, including AMD. An eye-friendly diet should include vegetables and fruits rich in lutein and zeaxanthin and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (think cold water fish, walnuts and flaxseed).
Here is one more reason not to smoke: according to one study, smokers are up to four times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers!
Protect Your Eyes from the Sun Year Round
According to research, overexposure to the sun can increase one’s risk of AMD. The best way to protect your eyes from the sun is by wearing sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection. You may not know it, but your eyes are still at risk of sun damage during cloudy weather, so it’s wise to wear sunglasses year round.
Get Your Eyes Checked Regularly
Like many eye conditions, AMD does not produce any early symptoms. Regular eye exams are important because they can detect AMD and other eye problems in their early stages. Early detection can help slow the progression of AMD and help prolong vision.
The board certified ophthalmologists at Visual Health are trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating various eye conditions, including AMD. To schedule a consultation or eye exam with us, please contact our Palm Springs office at (561) 964-0707 or our Jupiter office at (561) 747-1111.