Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
At present, Macular Degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease.
Causes of AMD
Macular Degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
Macular degeneration causes are unknown. At this point, what is known about age-related Macular Degeneration is that the causes are complex, but include both heredity and environment. Scientists are working to understand what causes the cells of the macula to deteriorate.
The biggest risk factor for Macular Degeneration is age. Your risk increases as you age. The disease is most likely to occur in people 50+ years of age.
Other risk factors include:
- Genetics – People with a family history of AMD are at a higher risk.
- Race – Caucasians are more likely to develop the disease than African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos.
- Smoking – Smoking doubles the risk of AMD.
There is currently no known cure for Macular Degeneration, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk and possibly slow the progression once you’ve been diagnosed. For example, you can pursue lifestyle changes like dieting, exercise, avoiding smoking and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light.
What can be done to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration?
The New England Eye Center at Tufts Medical Center recommends the following healthy habits and your health care provider may give similar recommendations.
- Don't smoke.
- Eat healthy foods
- Maintain normal blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Wear sunglasses and a hat with a visor in bright sunlight to protect your eyes.
- If you have symptoms of macular degeneration or a family history of AMD and an unhealthy diet, take supplements which include lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil). Check out Pure Manna health supplements!
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