Steps to Prevent Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when the structure of the central seeing part of the eye (the macula) starts to change and degrade. We can see yellowish specs called drusen, which when sufficient in number, can cause distortion and loss of acuity. In more advanced stages, there can be more generalized scarring, or at its worse, the development of blood vessels that eventually bleeds and cause massive vision loss. The former is referred as “dry”, since there is no leakage or bleeding. Once fluid and blood is present, it is then categorized as wet. Unfortunately, we are limited in treatments. The only major developments have been for the wet form, where ocular injections of specific medications that help with the bleeding are done. Therefore, prevention is the best route to take. The following is taken from an article on p.13 of “Profitable Practice”, the Spring 2014 issue:
- Don’t smoke. Period. Never mind lung cancer. The toxins in those cigarettes can make you up to 18x more likely to develop AMD.
- Eat plenty of dark, leafy green vegetables, such as raw spinach. Blueberries and carrots are excellent to add to that as well.
- Take a multivitamin/multimineral supplement (…) unless your doctor advises otherwise. Vitalux healthy eyes or Centrum Silver are 2 good options.
- If you already have AMD, ask your doctor about one of the AREDS formulations, such as Alcon I-Caps, B&L Ocuvite PreserVision (…). Vitalux is also an excellent option.
- Eat fish or take a fish oil supplement. (…) taking two enteric-coated fish oil capsules every day on days you don’t eat fish”. The optimal dosage is 2000mg daily, and an enteric coated capsule ensures that the oil is digested in the intestine, thus avoiding any fishy after-taste.
- Exercise regularly, and stay at healthy weight.
- Eat fruit and nuts daily.
- Reduce refined carbohydrates.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
- Wear appropriate sunglasses outdoors to block UV and blue light that may cause eye damage.
- Have regular eye examinations.
Essentially, it boils down to what is good for the body will be good for the eyes. And just as we have our regular physicals and dental appointments, it’s important to keep up with eye examinations, as the earlier we find damage, the better the chances of keeping it under control.