There are some factors that have been found to be linked to AMD, such as advancing age, genetic inheritance, smoking, nutrition, sun exposure and high blood pressure. The one factor that is the most under your control is nutrition. Eating the right foods may help decrease your risk of developing macular degeneration.
AMD is divided into two types, wet and dry. Wet (neovascular) AMD occurs when vessels keep forming to help the blood supply to the retinal tissue which is very oxygen deprived. The vessels that form are very fragile and easily break. This causes damage and bleeding to the tissue. Wet AMD is much more severe than dry AMD. The dry form (non-neovascular) is much more common and is characterized by loss of pigment within the retina.
Doctors have found that people who consumed the largest numbers of vegetables had a 43% lower risk of getting AMD than people who ate the least amount of vegetables. It can’t be just any vegetable though; it must be rich in carotenoids. Vegetables that contain the most carotenoids are spinach, collard greens and kale. Other vegetables also contain it though, just in fewer amounts. These vegetables, from the highest amount to the lowest amount, include parsley, mustard greens, dill, celery, scallions, leeks, broccoli, leaf lettuce, lettuce, green peas, pumpkin, brussel sprouts, summer squash, corn, green beans, green pepper, green olives and tomatoes. You should include an abundance of these vegetables in your diet.
There are many dietary supplements that you can take to slow the progression of AMD. Vitamins such as vitamin E, C, zinc and beta-carotene have been known to help. You can take a high dose of these supplements; however, this can be a risk for some people. Beta-carotene can increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. Please talk to your doctor before beginning a high dose regimen. It is possible to lower your risk of developing advanced macular degeneration by 25% if you take this combination of vitamins.
There are still a few other things you can do to increase your risk. If you smoke, you should quit. Smoking hurts circulation in the body and causes the blood vessels in the retina not to work as efficiently. Wearing sunglasses regularly can also help protect your eyes. Even though you cannot see ultraviolet (UV) light, it is still absorbed by your eyes and eyelids. The sunglasses you get need to block all UV rays, which are UVA, UVB and UVC. Also, exercise regularly; this will increase your overall health and your circulatory system.