Tips On Macular Degeneration Prevention As One Ages

early macular degeneration

Early Macular Degeneration
Image Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health Ref#: EDA21

Though the seniors normally experience blurring of vision, the risks of macular degeneration can be minimized with the right preventative approach. Though some of the main perpetrators for the disorder are non-modifiable, such as age and genes, macular degeneration is not totally unpreventable.

Macular degeneration is a disorder characterized by the loss of the ability of the retina to focus on objects. For more background information, check out these Risk Factors of Macular Degeneration.

Tips on macular degeneration prevention include certain lifestyle changes, including diet modification that can lower the propensity for the development of this disorder. Take a look at the following simple tips:

1. Diet Modification

One of the vitamins that help improve eyesight, and thus prevent visual disturbances, is Vitamin A, also known as Retinoic Acid. Vitamin A serves as an antioxidant that reduces the risk of dry macular degeneration. Antioxidants prevent macular degeneration by scavenging for and destroying free radicals that are damaging to the cells, in this case, to the retinal and macular cells.

Beta-carotene is another substance found in foods that acts in synergism with Vitamin A. Beta- carotene is most commonly found in orange and yellowish fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, squash and carrots. Vitamin A, on the other hand, is found in dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and broccoli.

Retinal cells also contain fatty acids that are part of the cellular membrane. This lipid membrane helps protect the cell not only from harmful substances, but also from destruction. Thus, omega-3 fatty acids are also recommended to prevent macular degeneration. These fatty acids are found in seafoods, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna.

High levels of cholesterol in the blood is a risk factor to developing macular degeneration. Hence, foods rich in cholesterol must be avoided. However, there are good fats that are said to prevent macular degeneration. These are polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids and those found in vegetable oil. The bad fats that should be avoided, aside from cholesterol that is found in beef and pork, are saturated and trans-fats that are found in most dairy products and lard.

2. Stop Smoking

Smoking causes a lot of diseases and macular degeneration is not an exemption. The mechanism of smoking in macular degeneration is similar with hypertension. It alters the diameter of the lumen of the blood vessels in the eyes and causes them to constrict. This will cause less blood to flow through the vessels and retinal cells, which can lead to retinal and macular damage. Quitting smoking is recommended to decrease the risk of developing this disease.

3. Exercise regularly

Exercise counteracts the effects of smoking. It promotes blood flow and can lower the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Walking 20 minutes a day is said to be a good exercise, especially for the elderly. Do pick a path for walking that is physically clear of obstacles, brightly lit and visually clear.

Barbara Knickerbocker-Beskind, an inventor in her 90s, understands the challenges of this disease. She has been designing glasses that help people with macular degeneration. The glasses can decipher the identity of an approaching person and announce their names.


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