Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition in which the macula, the part of the eye that's responsible for your sharpest and most detailed vision, begins to thin and break down, causing vision loss. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness.
There is no surefire way to prevent AMD. However, there are things you can do to delay its onset or reduce its severity. Here are 5 of our favorites:
- Smoking can speed up AMD damage. If you smoke, quit.
- Sunlight is thought to possibly promote AMD. Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats.
- Research also suggests that certain nutrients help prevent macular degeneration. Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and dark-green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, collard greens, and kale. The latter are especially rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are key for eye health.
- If you have intermediate or advanced dry AMD, or any stage of the "wet" form of AMD, ask your doctor about supplements. For example, people at high risk of developing the advanced stages of the "wet" form of AMD may lower their risk by taking high-dose combinations of antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
- It's unclear whether omega-3 supplements are beneficial for AMD. But eating fish and other foods high in these nutrients may still be worthwhile for preserving optimal vision and overall good health.
For more information on keeping your eyes healthy, buy The Aging Eye, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.