Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the center of the retina, called the “macula.” The retina is the part of the eyes that records what you see and then sends the images through the optic nerve, going from the eye to the brain.

Macular degeneration is also the leading cause of vision loss in America. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, this disease is currently considered incurable.  

Those who suffer from macular degeneration experience blurred vision, and can no longer read, drive, or see details of objects. This eye disease affects over 10 million Americans, and it not something that should be taken lightly. As there is no cure at present, it is essential that you prioritize your eyecare in order to prevent this disease. The cause of this disease is still unclear, but understanding the risk factors involved and the preventative actions available will only benefit you in the long run.

Risk Factors

The risk factors of macular degeneration are as follows:

Age

Macular degeneration is an age-related eye disease, and is most common in adults aged 55 and older.

Family History + Genetics

Those who have a family history of macular degeneration are at a higher risk of developing it.

Race

Perhaps because of a difference in pigmentation or genetic background, race plays a factor in developing macular degeneration. Caucasians are more susceptible to developing this eye disease than other races.

Diet

Diet plays a role in developing macular degeneration. Individuals who tend to eat more foods with fat and cholesterol, and foods with a high glycemic index, are at higher risk than those who have a diet of mainly antioxidants and leafy greens.

Smoking

According to BrightFocus Foundation, smoking increases the chance of an individual developing macular degeneration by two to five fold. The retina consumes a lot of oxygen, and when that oxygen is polluted with smoke, vision can be affected and oxidative damage could occur.

How To Prevent

As of right now, macular degeneration is not curable. However, there are many preventative steps you can take in order to reduce your risk of developing this eye disease.

  • Maintain a healthy diet, full of antioxidants, leafy greens, and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid smoking, or quit smoking.
  • Shield your eyes from sunlight and ultraviolet light.
  • Visit your eye doctor for routine eyecare and eye exams.

If you live in the Scottsdale area and are in need of an eye exam, Dr. Tiffany Uelner and her team at Visions Optique is the place to go. Prioritize your eyecare, maintain your eyesight, and prevent diseases when you choose to see your optician regularly. Schedule an eye appointment with Dr. Uelner today.