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What Can I Do to Prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

optometrist examining a woman's eyes

Good eye health is a must, especially as we age. The development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most frequent vision issues as we age. While AMD is not entirely preventable, there are several steps you can take to lessen your risk. Our goal at Optometrists Clinic Inc. is to help you maintain your vision and overall eye health. This blog will focus on habits and practices that can help prevent age-related macular degeneration.


Understanding AMD

Age-related macular degeneration is a medical condition that affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision. AMD can lead to a gradual loss of vision, making it difficult to read, drive, and recognize faces. While there is no cure for AMD, early detection and proactive care can help manage the condition and slow its progression.


Risk Factors for AMD

There are multiple ways to manage or reduce the risk factors associated with AMD. These include:


1. Adopt a Healthy Diet

Eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals can help reduce the risk of AMD. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and fruits, benefit eye health. Specifically, nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc are known to support retinal health.


Tips to Practice This Habit:

  • Make sure to eat various colourful fruits and vegetables in your meals.

  • Opt for whole grains and lean proteins.

  • Consider taking a daily multivitamin or specific supplements for eye health after consulting with your optometrist.


2. Quit Smoking

Smoking is a significant risk factor for AMD. It reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the retina and increases harmful free radicals, accelerating the degeneration process.


Tips to Practice This Habit:

  • Seek support through smoking cessation programs.

  • Use nicotine replacement therapies or medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

  • Engage in healthy activities to distract from smoking urges.

  • Avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.


3. Protect Your Eyes from UV Light

Exposure to UV light for longer can damage your eyes and increase the risk of AMD. Investing in sunglasses that block 100% UVA and UVB rays can help protect your eyes.


Tips to Practice This Habit:

  • Always wear sunglasses when outdoors, even on cloudy days.

  • Encourage sunglass and hat wear from an early age (childhood) as cumulative lifetime exposure increases risk of AMD

  • Choose sunglasses with UV protection and wear a wide-brimmed hat for additional protection.

  • Avoid looking directly at the sun and use appropriate eye protection for activities that expose you to bright light or glare.  

4. Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are essential for the early detection and management of AMD. Regular check-ups can assist in identifying changes in your vision and enabling timely intervention.


Tips to Practice This Habit:

  • Schedule regular eye exams with your optometrist.  Seniors should be seen annually. 

  • Report any changes in your vision immediately to your eye care provider.

  • Follow the recommended treatment plan and lifestyle adjustments suggested by your optometrist.


Prevention of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The prevention of AMD involves making conscious lifestyle choices and being proactive about your eye health. This includes adopting a healthy diet, quitting smoking, protecting your eyes from UV light, and scheduling regular eye exams. These measures can significantly reduce your risk of developing AMD.

At Optometrists Clinic Inc. in Edmonton, Leduc and Westlock, we provide comprehensive eye care services to help you maintain optimal vision health. Contact us today for any concerns about AMD or if you need a routine eye exam. Our team provides the best eye care solutions tailored to your needs.


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