7 Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Macular Degeneration

AMD affects the eyesight of millions. A Michigan Medicine specialist offers easy ways to help slow or prevent the disease. Doctors aren’t sure what causes age-related macular degeneration , a disease that affects millions of people in the United States.

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Also called AMD, it is known for causing blurred central vision due to damage to the macula — a small area at the back of the eye. Currently, there is no cure.

But there are known risk factors that eye care professionals often use to help determine a patient’s likelihood of developing AMD.

A key factor: age. The disease is most likely to occur after age 60 , according to the National Eye Institute.

“People who have had more birthdays are the ones who are susceptible,” says Julie Rosenthal, M.D. , a Michigan Medicine retina specialist. It’s also more common in women and whites.

That’s why at-risk patients should get regular eye exams that include pupil dilation and further macular degeneration tests, such as an optical coherence tomography (OCT) test.

Other strategies, however, can help slow or possibly prevent severe AMD, notes Rosenthal. She shared healthy habits that can benefit everyone’s eye health as they grow older: Ways to prevent age-related macular degeneration: 1. Quit smoking “Rules 1, 2 and 3 are stop smoking,” says Rosenthal. Smoking may double a person’s risk of developing AMD. And the habit exposes you to dangerous free radicals, unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage and keep nutrients from reaching the retina. The sooner you can quit, the better. 2. Know your family history People with a first-degree relative affected by AMD have a much greater risk of developing […]

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