February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, this disease is the leading cause of vision loss among those 60 years of age and older. It affects more than 10 million Americans, and is steadily increasing. So, now is the perfect time to make sure you are in the know when it comes to this eye condition.
AMD weakens the macula, which is the area in the middle of the retina that makes clear, central vision possible for everyday activities like driving, reading and identifying familiar faces. This condition is virtually painless and can advance so gradually that, at first, the affected individual notices little change in vision. There is no cure, but there are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing AMD.
The retina has a high rate of oxygen consumption and smoking impedes oxygen delivery to the eyes, which may contribute to the development and progression of the disease.
Choose a Healthier Diet
Eat a nutritious eye-healthy diet high in green leafy vegetables and yellow and orange fruit.
Increased activity can lead to better cardiovascular health and, in turn, higher oxygen flow to the retina. Also, a person with a BMI over 30 is more likely to develop AMD.
Schedule Eye Exams
It is important to get regular exams. In the meantime, consult your eye doctor if you notice any changes in vision. Early detection is key to managing AMD.
In addition to taking these preventive measures, evidence suggests that AMD could have a genetic link, but research continues. To learn more about AMD, visit http://bit.ly/20GUGjB
Sources: American Foundation for the Blind, BrightFocus Foundation