Can You Lower Your Risk of AMD?

Submitted by Elman Retina Group on May 13, 2021

AMD Management in Pikesville, Glen Burnie, & RosedaleIn our February blog post devoted to raising awareness of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the doctors of Elman Retina Group noted that AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults.

After learning about AMD, you may be wondering whether the disease is preventable. This is a difficult question to answer.

As the name suggests, the biggest risk factor for AMD is advancing age. According to the American Society of Retina Specialists, you are more likely to get the disease if you are over the age of 50. Another strong risk factor for AMD is a family history of the disease. If your close relatives have or had AMD, you are at a greater risk of getting it, too.

It can be frustrating to learn about these risk factors, since there is nothing you can do to control your age or genetics. However, our team wants you to know there are steps you can take to protect your vision from AMD. Read on for our suggestions.

Do Not Smoke

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of AMD is not smoke. Cigarettes contains chemicals that can damage the retina as they travel through the bloodstream. Studies indicate that people who smoke or used to smoke are twice as likely to get AMD as those who have never smoked.

Eat a Nutritious Diet

Following a nutritious, balanced diet can also lower the risk of getting AMD. Leafy green vegetables, yellow and orange fruits, fish and whole grains are particularly helpful, as they contain vitamins that protect against cellular damage from free radicals.

Maintain a Healthy Weight and Blood Pressure

Your diet also affects your ability to maintain a healthy weight. People who are significantly overweight or obese are more likely to get AMD than those who maintain a healthy weight. And, keeping your blood pressure under control is important — high blood pressure can cause constriction of the blood vessels that nourish the retina.

Exercise Regularly

Research suggests that regular exercise not only lowers the risk of AMD but can also help reduce the risk of other health problems that are linked to eye disease (e.g., high cholesterol, heart disease). Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity activity three to five times per week is sufficient.

Wear Sun Protection

Just like your skin, your eyes are very sensitive to the sun. Repeat exposure to ultraviolet light has been shown to cause and accelerate the development of AMD. Make sure you protect your eyes from the sun with a pair of quality sunglasses that block both UV-A and UV-B rays. If you’ll be outside during peak sunlight hours, add a wide-brimmed hat for extra eye protection.

Finally, if you are at increased risk for AMD due to your age or family history, the team at Elman Retina Group reminds you to get regular eye exams.

Contact Our Retina Specialists Today

To speak with a member of our team about AMD, please call or email us today.