The macula is the small area at the center of the retina that is responsible for what we see straight in front of us. It is the portion of the eye that is responsible for our sharpest and most detailed vision. As we age, the macula can begin to thin and break down, causing loss of that vital central vision. If left untreated, this condition, known as Age-related Macular Degeneration or AMD, can lead to blindness.
While there is no way to completely prevent AMD, there are several things that you can do to help delay the onset or reduce the severity of the condition.
- See your doctor for routine eye exams. Keeping track of any vision changes and getting advice from a qualified vision professional is a good idea for everyone. If you can find out about AMD or other conditions early on, it may be easier to slow the progression or prevent further damage.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can cause AMD to proceed more rapidly.
- Protect your eyes from the sun. Wearing sunglasses and/or a wide-brimmed hat is a good idea to keep harmful UV rays from doing damage to your eyes.
- Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and dark-green leafy vegetables. They contain nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are key to eye health.
- Ask your doctor about vitamins or supplements. There are some vitamins and supplements that are thought to help certain types of AMD.
- Eat fish or take an omega-3 supplement. Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids may benefit eye health.
- Keep an eye on your overall health. Maintain a healthy weight and keep other health conditions such as diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure in check.
For more information, visit the NIH’s AMD page.