Advanced Macular Degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common causes of vision loss in people who are age 55 and over. It occurs when the macula becomes damaged. The macula is the most sensitive part of the eye and is made up of a number of light-sensitive cells that help you clearly see what is directly in front of you.
According to Eyesight.org (see research links at the end of this article), one of six Americans are affected by AMD between the ages 55 and 64. One in four between 65 and 74 will develop it, and one in three people who are 75 or older. With such a large percentage of the population being affected, it’s important for anyone reaching that age to carefully consider what they can do to reduce their risk of developing AMD.
Risk Factors of Macular Degeneration.
The following are several risk factors related to developing advanced macular degeneration. If you’re looking for a way to prevent developing AMD in the first place or to keep this disease from getting worse, then it’s important to understand the ways that AMD can be worsened by diet and lifestyle choices.
Cigarette Smoking and UV rays are risk factors for macular degeneration.
Studies have shown that people who smoke cigarettes can have twice the chances of developing AMD compared to those who have never smoked. This same risk goes for those who have smoked at one point in their life but have since quit.
There are two ways that cigarette smoking causes AMD. First of all, the smoke from the cigarettes physically damages and irritates the eye. Secondly, the toxins that enter the body from the cigarettes damage many parts of the body, including the eyes, because of oxidative stress.
UV rays are a risk factor for developing macular degeneration too. Even if you don’t look directly at the sun, the UV rays can still cause damage to the macula which can then lead to AMD. For this reason, you should always wear sunglasses while outside in order to protect your eyes from these harmful rays.
High cholesterol can lead to macular degeneration.
When your cholesterol levels are high, it leads to blocked blood vessels throughout the body, particularly the smallest ones like those which are around the eye. These damaged blood vessels aren’t able to do their job, which then leads to damage of organs and tissue like the macula.
You don’t need to cut fat in general out of your diet if you want to lower your cholesterol. Instead, you need to cut out just the unhealthy fats. Limit your intake of saturated fats and focus on getting plenty of healthy unsaturated fats from things like avocado, fish, and nuts.
Oxidative Damage and macular degeneration.
Through eating processed foods and normal body functions, toxins or free radicals are released into your bloodstream. If not regularly removed by antioxidants, these toxins can do some serious damage. According to one study, macular degeneration can result from oxidative damage.
For this reason, it’s important to do what you can to protect your eyes against oxidative stress. You can start by making sure you’re getting enough dark green leafy vegetables every day as these contain plenty of vitamins C and E.
Resveratrol could help protect from macular degeneration.
A powerful antioxidant that can fight macular degeneration is resveratrol. This antioxidant was covered by Touch Ophthalmology in an article they published in 2013. The article quotes a study that was done which found resveratrol can help prevent and treat macular degeneration by working in two different ways.
First, Resveratrol works as an anti-inflammatory which can keep toxins from causing damage by stopping the eye’s inflammatory response to these free radicals. Second, it also works as an antioxidant and therefore removes the toxins from the body. This prevents the toxins from doing further damage to the eye or other parts of the body.
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Research studies used when writing this article:
Next up. Read 'The Ten Health Benefits of Muscadine Grapes'. You'll be amazed at what muscadines offer.