How to Decrease Your Risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Feb 13, 2024
How to Decrease Your Risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration
You can’t stop time, so how can you control a condition that sets in as you age — like age-related macular degeneration? If you’re 50 or older, don’t miss these practical tips to protect your peepers.

February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month and the perfect time to remind yourself about the potential complications.

Dr. Maher Fanous and our North Florida Eye Center team are here to shed some light on this progressive disease so you can take steps to prevent it.

The facts about AMD

As its name suggests, age-related macular degeneration occurs in older folks — typically those over 50. It’s a prevalent eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. AMD develops with the gradual deterioration of the macula, the part of your eye responsible for clear and sharp vision.

AMD progresses slowly and often goes unnoticed until it becomes a big problem. 

There are two types: dry and wet. 

Dry AMD, the more common type, involves the thinning of the macula. 

Wet AMD is less common but more severe. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels leak fluid or blood into the macula area.

Certain factors increase your likelihood of developing AMD, including age, family history, smoking, obesity, and heart disease. Interestingly, Caucasians are at a higher risk compared to other ethnic groups.

Tips for lowering your AMD risk

The main risk for AMD is aging, and there’s nothing you can do about that. However, you can alter some risk factors and lower your chances of developing AMD despite your age. Here are our top tips.

1. Prioritize healthy eating

Nutrient-packed foods like green leafy veggies, colorful fruits, fish, and whole grains are excellent for eye health. They’re loaded with beneficial elements such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and vitamins C and E that reduce your risk of AMD.

2. Stay active and maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight ups your chances of developing AMD, so keeping active and maintaining a balanced diet is one of the best ways to sidestep the problem.

3. Quit smoking

If you’re a smoker, here’s another compelling reason to quit: It doubles your likelihood of getting AMD.

4. Protect your eyes

Wearing sunglasses that block harmful UV rays outdoors is an easy way to protect your macula from damage.

5. Schedule regular eye exams

Early detection of AMD puts you — and us — in the best position to slow its progression. So, if you’re over 50 or have a family history of AMD, don’t skip those eye exams at North Florida Eye Center.

What to do if you have AMD

If Dr. Fanous diagnosis you with AMD, he offers several treatment options:

Injections

Certain medications injected into the eye can slow the progression of wet AMD and improve your vision.

Laser surgery

This procedure can help stop or slow the leaking of blood and fluid in your eye caused by abnormal blood vessels, a symptom of wet AMD.

Low vision rehabilitation

Dr. Fanous can help you make the most of your remaining vision and maintain your quality of life.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapists can provide strategies and assistive devices to help you with daily activities that have been affected by vision loss.

Chronic disease management

Because AMD is a chronic condition, it requires ongoing management. With regular check-ups and Dr. Fanous’ advice, you can manage the disease and its symptoms.

Telescopic lens implant surgery

This surgical procedure involves implanting a tiny telescope into your eye to magnify your field of vision.

For more tips on how to avoid AMD or to schedule an AMD exam, request an appointment online or call North Florida Eye Center in Chiefland and Gainesville, Florida.