Older individuals particularly people 60 years old and above have higher risks for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that damages central vision resulting in limited ability to read, write and see objects, even recognize faces. Such is the concern over AMD that ophthalmologists and optometrists at Costco strongly recommend preventive measures especially among high-risk individuals.
Keep in mind that these five preventive measures complement each other. For example, even if you undergo regular eye exams, eat healthy, and engage in moderate exercise, your risks will still be higher because of your refusal to stop using tobacco products including cigarettes and cigars. You have to take a wholistic approach to the matter of reducing your AMD risks.
Unfortunately, your risk for AMD development increases when a close relative has the condition. But don’t despair as catching AMD as early as possible can also increase your chances for saving your vision. You should inform your ophthalmologist about it so that proper medical actions, if any, can be made as well as discuss your eye health history with your family.
This is a controllable risk in the sense that you have full control whether you can increase your risks by continuing your cigarette habit or decrease it by quitting cigarettes. You have to keep in mind whenever you huff and puff on your cigarette that numerous studies have shown the use of tobacco products, particularly smoking them, increases the risk for AMD development and the speed of its progress once it takes hold on the eyes. Smokers are also twice as likely to develop non-age-related macular degeneration in comparison with a non-smoker.
Of course, adopting a healthy diet filled with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and berries, legumes, and fish and seafood, is a must for a healthy mind and body. But in persons with higher risks for AMD, it becomes more important. Studies have shown that people with decreased risks have diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, while people with increased risks have a higher intake of cholesterol and saturated fats.
You will be surprised that regular exercise also benefits the eyes but it does! You should ideally engage in moderate exercise at least 3 times a week, which studies have shown to reduce the risks of wet AMD by 70 percent.
Have Regular Eye Exams
Early-stage AMD often don’t have observable symptoms. But the disease can be detected by an ophthalmologist via a comprehensive eye exam, thus, the recommendation that people over 65 years old should have eye exams at least once every year; every two years is also recommended.
Don’t be ignorant about AMD! Your eyesight may well depend on it.