February is Macular Degeneration Awareness month!
You may be wondering why you need to worry about macular degeneration, if you don’t have the condition? Because while it is possible to stop or slow the progression for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there is no cure at this time.
#1 Remember to take your vitamins
Some vitamins may help delay the onset and/or progression of the disease. According to some studies, a simple vitamin cocktail that includes vitamins like vitamins A, E, and C can greatly slow the progression of the disease. But, there is no evidence that taking consistently high doses of these vitamins will prevent macular degeneration.
#2 Quit Smoking!
Most people don’t realize how much smoking can affect your vision. The fact is, smoking is considered to be one of the leading risk-factors for macular degeneration and its progression. If you are a smoker and you want to prevent or slow the symptoms of AMD, this should be your number one priority.
#3 Stay healthy
High blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol all can negatively impact the health of your eyes. You are 2-3 times more likely to suffer from AMD if you have a poor diet and little-to-no exercise. Eating more green/leafy vegetables combined with regular exercise and macular degeneration will less likely to be an issue.
#4 Talk to your doctor about drug therapies
About 15 years ago, break-through treatments for wet AMD became available to patients.
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) inhibitors have shown to significantly prevent the progression of AMD. In some cases, patients receiving VEGF injections have actually recovered some of their lost vision by reducing welling and the formation of new blood vessels (both negatively impact the macula and cause vision loss).
VEGF inhibitors are not for everyone so it’s important to talk to your retina specialist about your health conditions before beginning this course of treatment.
#5 Keep your eye appointments
This is your most important tip. Regular eye exams won’t prevent macular degeneration, but they give your eye doctor a chance to catch the disease early and prevent drastic vision loss. During an eye exam, your doctor will look for initial signs of AMD and if detected, you can begin vital vision preserving treatments. If you are over the age of 50, it might be time to start making those 1-2 year eye exams a priority.
Piedmont Eye Center is proud to have Lynchburg’s only Retina Team serving our community: Dr. Robert Vogel and Dr. Golnaz Javey. Why travel further or wait longer for specialized eye care? We have your needs covered. Think you might be showing signs of macular degeneration? See our Amsler Grid for a self-screening test: https://www.piedmonteye.com/amsler-grid/