Diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration - Causes and Treatment

Diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration – Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Intro

Following a number of eye tests Dr. van Lingen said: “Tony, your left eye is at the early stages of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD can affect people in their early 50s. AMD does not cause total blindness but it can make everyday activities such as reading and recognising faces difficult”. Dr. van Lingen continued: “take Ocuvite tablets daily (they contain lutein), eat green leafy vegetables (which contain lutein), wear sunglasses with 400 UV protection whenever out in the sun. As far as blue light filters are concerned if you use them at night they will assist in your sleep but whether blue light filters are effective against AMD remains inconclusive. Make sure you do the ‘Amsler Grid’ test regularly.

Take Ocuvite tablets daily (they contain lutein), eat green leafy vegetables (which contain lutein), wear sunglasses with 400 UV protection whenever out in the sun. As far as blue light filters are concerned they will assist in your sleep but whether blue light filters are effective against AMD remains inconclusive. Make sure you do ‘Amsler Grid’ test regularly.

Dr. Peter van Lingen, Oculoplastic and Orbital Surgery, Kenridge Medical Centre Donald Gordon Medical Centre, Parktown, Johannesburg

Causes of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

No one knows exactly what causes macular degeneration. But research indicates it may be affected by a combination of heredity and environmental factors, including smoking, obesity and diet.

Factors that may increase your risk of macular degeneration include:

  • Age. This disease is most common in people over 60.
  • Family history and genetics. This disease has a hereditary component. Researchers have identified several genes that are related to developing the condition.
  • Race. Macular degeneration is more common in Caucasians.
  • Smoking. Smoking cigarettes or being regularly exposed to smoke significantly increases your risk of macular degeneration.
  • Obesity. Research indicates that being obese may increase your chance that early or intermediate macular degeneration will progress to the more severe form of the disease.
  • Cardiovascular disease. If you have had diseases that affected your heart and blood vessels, you may be at higher risk of macular degeneration.

I am not aware of AMD in my family history, I do not smoke, I have no cardiovascular disease, I do exercise regularly and I certainly am not obese… On the downside: on a daily basis I sit at the computer for long hours, I have neglected green leafy vegetables in my diet for a long time and I shy away from wearing sunglasses whenever in the sun. I have now implemented lifestyle changes going forward. I have also turned on the blue light filter on my desktop computer (very easily done on Windows 10).😎

Tony Sousa

Prevention and Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

There’s no cure, but treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may slow the disease and keep you from having a severe loss of vision. Talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your condition.

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 AMD:

  • Manage your other medical conditions. For example, if you have cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, take your medication and follow your doctor’s instructions for controlling the condition
  • Don’t smoke. Smokers are more likely to develop macular degeneration than are nonsmokers. Ask your doctor for help to stop smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. If you need to lose weight, reduce the number of calories you eat and increase the amount of exercise you get each day
  • Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Choose a healthy diet that’s full of a variety of fruits and vegetables. These foods contain antioxidant vitamins that reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration
  • Include fish in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, may reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Nuts, such as walnuts, also contain omega-3 fatty acids
  • Increase Lutein intake in tablet form (such as Ocuvite tablets) as well as by consuming foods with a high amount of lutein.

If you have been diagnosed with AMD do the Amsler Grid test regularly.

Foods with High Amounts of Lutein

  • Kale. Kale’s dark green color holds high amounts of nutrients, including impressive levels of lutein
  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Corn
  • Bell Peppers
  • Parsley
  • Pistachios
  • Eggs.

Blue Light Filters

Eyes feel tired during night reading on the phone or computer? Have trouble in sleeping after long time watching phone screen or computer? That is due to blue light. One can get glasses for blue light protection, there are also blue light blocking screen protector panels for desktops and laptops one can purchase on Amazon.com and probably best of all is the fact that Windows 10 has an in-built blue light filter you can easily turn on.

Do your Sunglasses offer 400 UV Protection?

Your optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye specialist) can quickly test your sunglasses and establish if they offer 400 UV protection.

Dr. van Lingen Contact Details

If you live in Johannesburg and need a competent ophthalmologist:

Dr Peter van Lingen
Ophthalmologist, oculoplastic and orbital surgery
Tel: 011 482 4816
Kenridge Medical Centre Donald Gordon Medical Centre
21 Eton Road, Parktown, Johannesburg

Sources – Images

Further Reading

Looking forward to your comment

%d bloggers like this: