Macular degeneration — or the deterioration of the macular, the part of the eye that is responsible for sharp central vision — is the largest cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. Also known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD, getting older is the biggest risk factor for the breakdown of the macula. However, while a significant factor, age alone is not responsible for macular degeneration. It is, however, a good reason to begin seeing our San Diego retina specialists with more frequency after you turn 60 years old.

If you are overdue for an eye examination, please contact California Retina Associates online or by calling one of our San Diego-area offices at (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755 to schedule an appointment today.

Understanding the Risk Factors

Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for macular degeneration. Fortunately, quitting now can reduce your risks. In fact, studies have found that risks for AMD are reduced nearly 7 percent within the first year of quitting and an additional 5 percent in the following year.

In addition to smoking cigarettes, risk factors for age-related macular degeneration include:

  • Having a family history of the disorder
  • Being of Caucasian descent
  • A poor diet
  • Being overweight or obese
  • A history of cardiovascular disease
  • Elevated blood cholesterol levels

Barring genetic factors, many of the risks for AMD are related to lifestyle choices. This means that making healthy decisions is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risks of the disease and decrease the chances of losing your vision as you age.

Can Macular Degeneration Be Prevented?

While there is never any guarantee against developing macular degeneration, a substantial amount of research indicates that certain lifestyle choices may be useful in its prevention. These include:

  • Do not smoke – If you smoke, work with your doctor to develop a smoking cessation plan.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet – Fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants along with nutrients such as zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin have been shown to lower the risk and delay the progression of macular degeneration. So too have Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and some dry nuts.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Avoid becoming overweight or obese.
  • Have routine eye examinations – Particularly after the age of 60, having yearly eye exams is important for early detection of macular degeneration and a host of other age-related eye disorders.

There is no cure for macular degeneration. This makes preventative steps such as not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and routinely visiting our San Diego macular degeneration team very important. During your next visit to our office, we can discuss strategies that can help you avoid vision loss now and well into the future. If you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, we can discuss your AMD treatment options in detail.

Let Us Help You Manage Your Risk of AMD

To schedule your next appointment with one of our experienced eye doctors, please contact us today. We maintain offices throughout San Diego and the surrounding areas to better serve people living throughout Southern California.