7 simple things you can do to protect your eyes
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 50 years of age. It is a progressive disease of the eye which causes a gradual loss of central vision. The macula is the area of the retina that processes the sharp images needed for reading, driving and other detailed tasks. As a result of aging and other factors the macula begins to break down and becomes damaged. This damage can lead to mild or severe vision loss.
If you have been diagnosed recently with AMD, you probably have a lot of questions. It's important to know how to take charge of your health and your eyes. Although no cure currently exists, with early diagnosis, smart choices, and proper treatment, the progression of AMD may be delayed. Here are 7 simple things you can do to give your eyes the protection they need to stay healthy and keep you seeing well into the future.
1. Test your vision daily with an Amsler Grid. The key to AMD is an early diagnosis so that treatment and preventative measures can begin. Go to www.EyeScience.com to see a printable version of this test.
2. Nutrition and your ocular health. A diet low in saturated fats and high in antioxidants can prevent AMD or slow its progression. Good dietary sources of antioxidants include citrus fruits, cauliflower, broccoli, nuts, seeds, orange and yellow vegetables, cherries, blackberries, and blueberries. Regular consumption of fish and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can result in a reduced risk of macular degeneration, according to recent studies.
3. Nutritional supplements. On October 12, 2001, the National Eye Institute released the long awaited results of AREDS (Age-related Eye Disease Study), designed to look at the effect of vitamin supplementation on AMD and cataracts. For people at high risk of developing advanced stages of AMD, use of the AREDS combination of antioxidants and zinc supplements reduced that risk by 25%.
4. Healthy heart, healthy eyes. Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to reduce both the incidence and progression of AMD. It improves the body's overall health and increases the efficiency of the circulatory system. High blood pressure has been linked to AMD.
5. Get an eye exam. Early detection of macular degeneration increases your chances of preventing serious vision loss. If you are older than 40 years of age, get an exam every two to four years. If you are older than 65 years of age, get an exam every year or two. If you have a family history of macular degeneration, have your eyes examined more frequently, perhaps annually.
6. Stop smoking. Now. Cigarette smoking is the single most preventable cause of macular degeration. Smokers are four times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers. In addition current or ex-smokers should not take vitamin supplements that have beta carotene because the risk of lung cancer increases if they do so. Tobacco can also interfere with the absorption of lutein, an important antioxidant that protects the retina. If you smoke, stop now!
7. Focus on learning. Learning more about your eyes and the diseases that can affect them will empower you to make better decision in your life. Visit www.EyeScience.com for valuable information on the effects of AMD. Our unique "watch and learn" videos will present information like you've never seen before.