Age-related Macular Degeneration – Tips to Reduce Your Risk

Posted by: Kevin Flatt

Macular Deterioration – Tips to reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration

While the cause of age-related macular degeneration is unknown, there are several risk factors that have been associated with changes in the eye and ways to reduce the risk of developing the disease, according to Kansas State University researcher Carol Ann Holcomb.

Risk factors associated with age-related macular degeneration include age, eye color, ethnicity and a family history of the disease, she said. According to Holcomb, age has been the most significant risk factor in all major population-based studies.

“The lighter a person’s eyes early in life or as a result of aging the more prone they are to develop degenerative changes in the macula,” she said. “The prevalence of the disease is also highest in Caucasians, compared to Blacks and Hispanics in the United States. Twin studies and studies of siblings with the disease have shed light recently on a potential role for heredity or family history.”

While nothing can be done to decrease those factors, other risks can be tackled, such as high blood pressure, sunlight exposure and smoking.

  • Protect your eyes from damaging sun light, particularly UVB rays. Wear tinted glasses and a cap, hat or visor with a brim. About 37 percent of the exposure of the eyes to sun light can be blocked by wearing a hat with a wide brim on it.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat the daily recommended levels of fruits and vegetables, and include green leafy vegetables for their anti-oxidant properties. A pigment called lutein has the most promise and may even be protective. Lutein is prevalent in green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli and can also be found in certain yellow vegetables, such as corn and squash, and egg yolk.
  • Get an annual eye examination.
  • Participate in a regular physical activity.

For more information, Holcomb recommends “Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing Your Sight,” a book by Dr. Lylas G. and Marja Mogk.

Prepared by April Blackmon. For more information contact Carol Ann Holcomb at 785-532-0152.

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Age Related Macular Degeneration – The Link to Fast-Acting Carbohydrates
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What Causes Cataracts?


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