The macula is in the center part of the retina and in the back part of the eye, which records how we see. The macula then sends this information from the retina to the brain to interpret the images. Macular degeneration is the breaking down of the macula causing problems with the center point of vision.
There are many ways to lessen your chances of developing this disease. First are some of the common sense healthy lifestyle choices we should all make: Drink plenty of water anddon’t smoke. Smokers are four times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than non-smokers! Studies done at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary also found that men who eat fish at least twice a week are 45% less likely to develop macular degeneration.Omega-3s for the win!
Eat a diet rich in dark leafy vegetables such as kale, raw spinach, and collard greens to make sure youget lots of antioxidants. Uncooked spinach is found to be the most effective of the three. It is recommended you eat fruits and nuts daily, and talk to your eye specialist or medical doctor about multivitamins and multimineral supplements. Don’t forget towear sunglasses that block UV rays andlimit your blue light exposure from smartphones and electronic screens. One way to limit the blue light exposure is to look up from your phone more often and for longer periods. You can also find blue-blocking lenses that work well for hours of computer work.
Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising are also good for your eyes. People whoexercise on a regular basis -- three or more times a week, like walking two miles a day, are 70% less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration. Eating fruits and veggies is important and also reduces the refined carbs you eat. Refined carbs are foods such as white bread, pretzels, potatoes, and donuts. Instead, try eating more low-glycemic foods such as multigrain or whole wheat breads.
Cholesterol is that fatty material that builds up in blood vessels and makes it harder for the blood to flow freely. Cholesterol that builds up can make it harder for your eyes to maintain the health they deserve, creating added pressure on the delicate veins in the eyes. Hypertension must also be controlled to prevent macular changes from worsening.
Everyone shouldget an eye exam, but as you age this becomes more essential. It is recommended that between the ages of 40 to 60 you have an eye exam every two years. After age 60, eye exams should be done yearly. Talk to your eye doctor and see what supplements are recommended for your eye health!
Dr. Jenna Zigler
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