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#12 Reduce the Risks of Macular Degeneration -

Preventive Measures to Reduce the Risk of Macular Degeneration.

Excerpts from an article in Everyday Health.(to see the entire article, go to www.everydayhealth.com )

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You May Go Blind’: The Diagnosis That Changed My Life

By Everyday Health
Guest Contributor
 Published Dec 2, 2015

I wasn’t prepared to go down without a fight.

We know much more about this condition today than we did 20 years ago when I first got my diagnosis. We now know there are some risk factors beyond anyone’s control, as well as some controllable risk factors.

Risks for Macular Degeneration That You Can’t Control

  • Age: the older you are, the more likely you are to develop AMD
  • Genetics: people with a family history of AMD are more prone to
    it
  • Light-eyed people: people with light irises (e.g., blue-eyed
    people) are at risk because they have
    lower levels of pigments in their eyes
  • Poor-sighted people: people with severe near- or farsightedness are
    more at risk
  • Women: because they generally live longer, women are more prone
    to develop AMD than men.

Risks for Macular Degeneration That You Can Control

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Diet
  • High blood pressure
  • Unchecked cardiovascular disease
  • Long-term sun exposure

Prevention Measures to Reduce the Risk of AMD

There are small but significant preventive measures you can take that may help delay the onset and slow down the progression of the condition.

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Wear sunglasses.

This is the number one piece of advice I give everyone, whether they’re 16 or 60. Long-term sun exposure is a controllable risk factor. Leave a pair in your car, put a pair in your bag — just have some handy every time you step out. When shopping for sunglasses, make sure to look for ones that have UV or blue light protection.

Don’t put off that eye checkup.

Age-related macular degeneration is often detected in an eye exam before any noticeable symptoms surface. And don’t ignore symptoms like blurry vision, straight lines looking wavy or gray, or dark spots in the center of your vision. It may not be AMD, but let your doctor be the judge of that.

Don’t smoke.

Smoking increases the risk of AMD and a host of other diseases. It also reduces the number of protective nutrients delivered by the bloodstream to the eyes.

Exercise regularly

This is a good habit that will boost your overall health. Start by walking for about half an hour every day, and work your way to more strenuous activities like jogging, playing sports, or yoga if you can.

Eat right.

  • Many years ago, researchers shared with me their belief that certain foods could help slow down the progression of the disease. I was glad to see that the runny egg yolks I love so much made the cut. Fruits and vegetables like corn, peaches, and orange peppers have high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants found naturally in the center of the retina that need to be replenished regularly.
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts, and seafood like salmon and oysters are all good
    food for your eyes. I now try to eat at least two pieces of fish weekly and
    three different colors of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • One ingredient I was less enthused to see on the eye-healthy food list is kale — it’s admittedly not my favorite green. But since it happens to be one of the best vegetables out there for eye health with the highest amounts of certain nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin that are good for the eyes, I try to eat it more often. I’ve found baby kale to be more palatable than the regular
    green, since it tastes a little more like spinach to me. I was so inspired by the power of nutrition that I opened my home up to a team of food and medical professionals, and we created a book called Eat Right ForYour Sight that’s filled with simple, delicious recipes that help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

I began following these preventive measures soon after I was diagnosed, and now, 20 years later, I can see, read, write and drive (even at night). But perhaps the most important result for me: I can still recognize the faces of my loved ones.

The disease may be incurable, but it’s definitely not insurmountable. I’m living proof of that.

Chip Goehring is the founder and president of the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the prevention, treatment, and cure of macular degeneration through raising public awareness, funds, and supporting scientific research.