Are You at a High Risk for Macular Degeneration?

shutterstock_138176315Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60 years of age. The reason for this is that the macula, which is the central portion of the eye’s retina, begins to deteriorate over time as a result of the aging process. Though there are two types of AMD — “wet” and “dry” — the most common type is dry AMD, which occurs when blood vessels have grown under the retina and begin to leak, resulting in gradual vision loss. Common symptoms of dry AMD include blurred or distorted vision, reduced central vision, problems seeing in low lighting and difficulty recognizing faces and seeing intense or vivid colors.

Risk Factors for AMD

  • People over 65 years old are at a higher risk; up to 40 percent of adults over 75 years old have shown signs of AMD.
  • Caucasians are at a higher risk than other races.
  • A person who has AMD in their family history is at a higher risk.
  • A person with a body mass index, or BMI, greater than 30 is 2.5 times more likely to develop AMD than a person with a lower BMI.
  • Lifestyle factors. Smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and prolonged sun exposure are all factors that can heighten your risk of developing AMD.

Ways You Can Lower Your Risk

Though AMD is an incurable eye condition, there are many ways to lower your risk of developing it in the first place, such as:

  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Keep your cholesterol low
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get your eye health checked regularly, especially if you have a family history of AMD or if you notice any changes in your vision
  • Wear sunglasses with full UV protection and hats when outdoors

Talk to Dr. Donnenfeld about Your Eye Health

Do you have vision problems or other issues affecting your eye health? Dr. Donnenfeld offers a range of eye services, including LASIK surgery and dry eye treatment, to ensure that you can see clearly and comfortably — whether again or for the first time. To learn more, contact Dr. Donnenfeld today to schedule an appointment.

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