You have control over some of the known risk factors for macular degeneration. If you have macular degeneration, a family history of AMD, or are in the "macular generation" (age 60 or above), you should be particularly alert to these. However, it is most effective to take these steps well before you are at risk. Healthy habits, started young, will provide the most benefits.
A. STOP SMOKING
Smoking increases the risk OF GETTING AMD up to 6 times, and may bring the disease on many years sooner. Tobacco appears to interfere with the absorption of lutein, an important antioxidant that protects the retina from damaging ultraviolet light. Smokers are likely to have low levels of lutein and they are at greater risk of developing macular degeneration than nonsmokers. So, if you've been trying to quit smoking, here's another good reason to stop!
B. REDUCE Exposure to Sunlight
Ultraviolet light and blue light can damage your retina and may increase your chances of developing macular degeneration. They can also speed up its development. Therefore, it is extremely important to protect your eyes when you are out of doors.
Wear a hat or visor whenever you are outside, even on overcast days. Ultraviolet light passes through cloud cover and is just as dangerous as direct sunlight. Look for sunglasses that screen 99-100% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Recent research points to blue light (the short wavelengths of the light spectrum) as an even more damaging factor. To be on the safe side, try to find glasses that guard against both ultraviolet rays and bluelight. A certain percentage of sunglasses are mislabeled, so always buy sunglasses from a reputable dealer. Your optician can check your glasses to measure the UV protection.
C. Control High Blood Pressure
The eye is a highly vascular organ and it has a rich supply of blood vessels. In fact, the rate of blood exchange in the eye is the highest in the body. The link between high blood pressure and AMD has been the subject of much research. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your doctor check for it. There are no symptoms, which is why it is called "the silent killer". If you have high blood pressure, it can be controlled by following your doctor's instructions. This may involve changes in diet and/or medication.
D. Eat a Healthy Diet to prevent Macular Degeneration
The diet widely recommended as beneficial for cardiovascular good health - low in saturated fats, high in fruits and vegetables - also seems to help people suffering from AMD. A healthy lifestyle that includes regular cardiovascular exercise also contributes to both cardiac and eye health. One explanation: A healthy heart speeds the delivery of essential nutrients to the eyes and hastens the removal of waste products.
FRUITS & vegetables - including spinach, capsicums, and other dark green or yellow vegetables FISH - one serving of fish per week may reduce your chances of developing the disease by half NUTS - one serving of nuts per week may halve the rate of progression of the disease. The best nuts are probably walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds and pine nuts
* If you have MD, consider supplementing your diet with antioxidants in consultation with your doctor.
Surgical options for macular degeneration. Surgery likely would be considered a last resort for patients who fail to respond to other, less invasive AMD therapies. Surgical removal of damaged tissue (subretinal operation) might be one option. Injections of gas and/or a drug that dissolves blood clots also have been investigated as a way to displace unwanted blood (pneumatic displacement) accompanying abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage. Translocation operations now being studied involve moving and separating damaged tissue from healthy tissue as a way to preserve vision function.