A Look at Macular Degeneration

Macular DegenerationThe eyes, like every other part of the body, age. To manage the highest possible quality of life at every age, it helps to prepare for potential health concerns, such as macular degeneration. At Thom Eye & Laser Clinic, we assist each patient by performing thorough examinations and by providing the information necessary to manage eye health through the ages.

Macular degeneration is an age-related eye condition that most often occurs in older adults. Statistical data tells us that macular degeneration is a more common problem than glaucoma and cataracts combined. The concern with the prevalence of macular degeneration is that the condition cannot be cured at this time, and that blindness may occur as a result of this. Understanding this fact, patients may be more mindful of practicing the best eye care habits.

In some cases, macular degeneration is a familial condition, tied to simple genetics. However, there are additional factors that may increase the risk of this disease. Individuals who know that macular degeneration has developed in family members may want to create protective habits. These may include:

  • See the eye doctor. Eye exams should be performed on an annual basis. Although macular degeneration cannot be cured, nor entirely prevented, the early detection of problems prompts treatment that may slow the progression of the disease.
  • The eyes benefit from certain nutrients, just like other organs and systems. Some of the supplements that may be considered for eye health include zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and fish oil. Fortunately, there are several fish oil supplements that have no unpleasant taste, and should not cause “fish burps.”
  • Stop smoking. Tobacco smoke, and even the chemicals in smokeless tobacco, stand in the way of healthy eyes. This habit significantly increases the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Eat well. Many of the nutrients the eyes use come straight from your plate, so load up on plenty of leafy greens like spinach and kale, fruits, and nuts. Refined carbohydrates, such as bread and processed foods, increase oxidative stress throughout the body. Limiting carbs to vegetables and grains is ideal.
  • Play well. Find ways to get the exercise your body needs to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get sun savvy. UV rays break down vital ocular structures and increase the risk of several eye conditions. Wear sunglasses daily, and choose eyewear with broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Is it time for your eye exam? Call our Fargo office at (701) 235-5200.

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