When the central part of the retina, known as the macula, begins to break or wear off with age, macular degeneration occurs and this age-related macular eye disease can get worse over time. Retina is the light-sensitive nerve tissue at the back of the eye and macular degeneration occurs when aging damages the small central part of the retina or macula, the part of the eye that controls sharp straight vision, making it the leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss in people over 60 years of age.
dr. Vidya Nair Chaudhry, Senior Consultant Ophthalmology and Refractive Surgery at Aakash Healthcare in Dwarka in Delhi, said: “There are two types of AMD: non-exudative (dry) AMD, which is characterized by the build-up of drusen, yellowish deposits under the retina that ultimately lead to loss of central vision and exudative (wet) AMD, which is characterized by fluid leakage or bleeding into the macula, resulting in loss of central vision.”
According to Dr. Vidya Nair Chaudhry, smoking is one of the leading causes of severe AMD vision loss. She said: “Compared to non-smokers, it speeds up the progression of the disease by up to five times. Smoking reduces the effectiveness of treatments by increasing the number of oxidants in the bloodstream and eyes. For people with AMD, quitting smoking may be the key. most modifiable risk factor.”
dr. Neeraj Sanduja, MBBS, MS – Ophthalmologist, ophthalmologist, eye surgeon, revealed, “While macular degeneration is almost never a completely blinding condition, it can lead to a permanent loss of your central vision.” He suggested ways to prevent age-related macular degeneration:
1. Quit Smoking – “Rules 1, 2 and 3 are smoking cessation”. Smoking can double a person’s risk of developing AMD. And the habit exposes you to dangerous free radicals and unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage and prevent nutrients from reaching the retina. The sooner you can stop, the better.
2. Know your family history – People who have a first-degree relative who is affected by AMD also have a much higher risk of developing it. Those with family ties to the disease should be vigilant for potential symptoms such as difficulty recognizing faces, difficulty adapting to low light, and seeing straight lines that appear wavy.
3. Eat Leafy Vegetables – Load your plate with spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, among other green vegetables. “They have a lot of antioxidant vitamins.” Those nutrients help protect against cellular damage from free radicals, which can contribute to eye disease. It is recommended that family members eat foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin rather than taking supplements. These foods also contain hundreds of other phytochemicals that are likely to be helpful. Foods such as egg yolk, yellow corn, orange or yellow bell pepper, kale, broccoli, spinach, kiwi, grapes, zucchini, and pumpkin are high in lutein and/or zeaxanthin and are considered protective. People who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as biweekly meals of high-fat fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna or mackerel, have a lower risk of AMD. Conversely, people who eat red meat every day have an increased risk of AMD. It is possible (but not proven) that this is the result of too much iron getting into the retina.
4. Take Supplements – Patients with a nutritional deficiency can consider multivitamins. And people at risk for advanced AMD should ask their doctors about a specialized blend of supplements known as AREDS. The vitamins of macular degeneration are “not a treatment or a cure, but may reduce your risk of getting the more severe forms of AMD.” AREDS2 showed that a formula containing 10 milligrams (mg) of lutein, 2 mg of zeaxanthin, 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E, 80 mg of zinc oxide, and 2 mg of copper oxide reduced the risk of disease progression by 25 percent.
5. Wear sunglasses – Such glasses provide protection against UV and blue light that can cause retinal damage with repeated exposure (the American Macular Degeneration Foundation recommends wearing glasses with a “UV 400” label).
6. Maintain a healthy blood pressure and weight – Poor circulation due to hypertension can also restrict blood flow to the eyes, contributing to AMD. Losing weight is a proven way to lower blood pressure; even small gains help – especially if you already have hypertension.
7. Test yourself with an Amsler grid – The tool that allows doctors to detect vision problems associated with macular damage can be used at home. If after staring at the paper grid you notice that the central part of your vision has darkened in one eye or the grid lines are wavy, talk to your doctor. Keep your Amsler roster in a place that reminds you to check it daily.
According to Dr. Siddarth Sain, Senior Consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals: “Macular degeneration is a common condition – it is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. It does not cause complete blindness, but losing your central vision can make it more difficult to seeing faces, reading, driving, or doing close-up work such as cooking or fixing things around the house.” He, too, listed tips to reduce your risk of macular degeneration:
1. Get regular eye checks – You should see your eye doctor every two to three years if you are between the ages of 45 and 60, and every year if you are 60 or older. Visiting your eye doctor regularly can help monitor and protect your eye health, especially important if you’re at risk for macular degeneration or other eye diseases.
2. Wear sunglasses – Breaking out the shades may be the easiest thing you can do to prevent macular degeneration. According to the doctors, direct sun exposure has been linked to AMD and other eye damage.
3. Quit Smoking – Quit smoking to reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Smokers are up to four times more likely to have age-related macular degeneration than non-smokers.
4. Eat Green Leafy Vegetables – Dark leafy greens, in particular, can play a major role in preventing macular degeneration. According to the ophthalmologist, increasing the frequency of intake of spinach, kale or collard greens (all of which are high in carotenoids) could lower the risk of AMD. You should also add more fatty fish to your diet. People who eat fish at least three times a week were less likely to develop or have macular degeneration.
5. Keep Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Under Control – Focusing on maintaining a healthy weight, along with good blood pressure and cholesterol, is important for maintaining the health of your eyes.
dr. Vidya Nair Chaudhry advised, “No matter how long or heavily you smoke, quitting smoking reduces your risk of AMD by one year for every year you are smoke-free. People with early AMD should have retinal specific antioxidants. Also Good UV filters in eyewear should be used to prevent AMD or its progression Wet AMD should be treated early with anti-VEGF injections into the eye to prevent macular scarring.”