Dr. Jim Martin 02/22/2016

eye_.pngAge-related Macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. While the exact cause of AMD is unknown, it involves a problem in the part of the eye called the macula.

There's further mystery connected with AMD in that it has few distinct symptoms. While a loss of distance vision is one of the first symptoms to become noticeable, patients may also complain of blurred vision or a dark spot in their line of sight.

Over time, AMD can make it difficult, and even impossible, for a person to read, drive or recognize familiar faces.

How Do I Know If I'm At Risk For AMD?

Family history, gender, age, eye color, farsightedness and race are risk factors that can't be controlled. But other factors, such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, exposure to harmful sunlight, diet and smoking, are considered controllable risk factors.

What Should I Do If I'm At High Risk?

If you're an individual at high risk for AMD, you should undergo regular eye exams for early detection. Optical Coherence Tomography is just one examination technique that may provide early detection.

How Can I Help Prevent Macular Degeneration?

Here are five guidelines to follow that can help slow or prevent the progression of AMD:

1. Stop Smoking
The numbers don't lie. Studies have shown that smokers are four times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers.

2. Multivitamins and Multiminerals
Taking vitamins and minerals can be a good idea for many reasons, including general eye health. While taking multivitamins should never be a substitute for a healthy diet, it's also true that many Americans don't eat enough fruits, vegetables and nutrient rich foods.

3. Eat Plenty Of Greens
Consuming dark, leafy greens may help with macular degeneration prevention. One study showed that people who consumed vegetables rich in carotenoids had a 43 percent lower risk of AMD.

4. Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight has been shown to aid in the prevention of AMD. In one active group studied, in which men walked at least two miles a day, three times a week, were 70 percent less likely to develop AMD.

5. Have Regular Eye Exams
Having regular eye exams is a crucial factor in helping to prevent AMD. The American Academy of Ophthalmology also recommends having a dilated eye exam at least every two to three years if you're between 45 and 60 years old, and every year after age 60.

Call Broome Optical in Amarillo for an appointment today.

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