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5 Things you can do to prevent macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is common as we get older. Below are 5 things you can do to reduce your chances of suffering from macular degeneration, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

1. Stop Smoking. Smoking triples your risk of macular degeneration! For women over age 80 smoking is even worse; it increases AMD risk by over 5 times. Smoking also increases the risk of cataracts, diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye. It is never too late to stop. Stopping smoking now will substantially reduce your risk of multiple vision threatening diseases of the eye. Click here to go to the American Cancer Society’s Stop Smoking page.

2. Know your family history. If you have a parent or sibling with significant vision loss from macular degeneration, your risk is much higher than the general population.

3. Exercise regularly. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are significantly less likely to develop macular degeneration.

4. Eat a healthy diet. In addition to taking supplements that are specifically designed for eye health, take this list with you when you go to the grocery store:

Antioxidants: Dark green leafy greens, sweet potatoes, red berries, blueberries, grapes, walnuts, and pomegranates

Zinc: shiitake mushrooms, green peas, spinach, lima beens, lentils, asparagus

Copper: Oysters, kale, shiitake mushrooms, sesame seeds, cashew nuts

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Kale, peas, summer squash, pumpkin

5. Get an eye exam. Macular degeneration can often be detected and potentially treated before you are aware of it. If you have not had an eye exam in two years with an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist, why not call and make an appointment right now?

Christopher Kuntz, MD has 20 years of experience performing cataract surgery and counseling patients regarding their choices. He is the author of the patient education website


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