Macular degeneration is a loss of vision caused by deterioration of the central portion of the retina, and although there are treatments, none can cure it, but can only stop it progressing. So, it makes sense to take preventative measures before you get problems.
The consensus seems to be that if you eat a balanced diet, take exercise, keep your weight down, and don’t smoke, the odds of avoiding it are good, and if you take a daily supplement of lutein and zeaxanthin, then you are improving your odds still further.
Let’s look at the advice in detail from health authorities (some of it abbreviated):
The American Macular Degeneration Foundation
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
The causes are complex, but include both heredity and environment.
The biggest risk factor for Macular Degeneration is age. Your risk increases as you age, and the disease is most likely to occur in those 55 and older.
While the causes of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are complex, several of the risk factors are controllable. Smoking (which doubles the risk), being overweight overall and around the abdomen, and having unchecked cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure all increase a person’s risk for AMD. Long-term exposure to the sun without eye protection is, similarly, a risk factor.
The Mayo Clinic
Dry macular degeneration is a common eye disorder among people over 50. It causes blurred or reduced central vision, due to thinning of the macula. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for clear vision in your direct line of sight.
Controllable risk factors include smoking, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
It’s important to have routine eye exams to identify early signs of macular degeneration. The following measures may help reduce your risk of developing dry macular degeneration:
•Manage your other medical conditions.
•Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
•Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
•Include fish in your diet.
The UK Macular Society
Regular exercise and a balanced diet are important for general wellbeing and protecting against many health conditions. Diet is thought to be important because certain nutrients protect the body against substances called “oxidants”.
Most research has focused on vitamins A, C and E. These are thought to maintain healthy cells and tissues in the eye. Some studies are also looking at the effects of omega 3 on eye health.
More recently, interest has grown in another antioxidant, lutein, and a similar substance, zeaxanthin. Both of these are yellow plant pigments, which give certain fruit and vegetables their colour. There are several studies that suggest that consuming at least 10mg of lutein per day has the most beneficial effects on macular pigment levels.
The consensus seems to be that if you eat a balanced diet, take exercise, keep your weight down, and don’t smoke, the odds of avoiding it are good, and if you your diet includes lutein, zeaxanthin and Omega-3, then you are improving your odds still further.
Link to my post on “Omega 3”