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Diseases & Conditions

Can you avoid macular degeneration?

May 1, 2021

You have the power to reduce certain risk factors for the disease.

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We've come a long way in our understanding and treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss for people ages 50 or older in the United States. We've learned that certain genes and lifestyle factors increase the risk for developing AMD, and discovered treatments that often slow the disease's progression.

Yet for all our advances, we still don't have a guaranteed way to prevent AMD. You are at greater risk if one of your parents had the condition. "One needs to be concerned, but it doesn't mean you're destined to get it. It's a complex disease, and it takes a combination of factors for it to develop," says Dr. Joan W. Miller, chief of ophthalmology at Harvard-affiliated ­Massachusetts Eye and Ear and ophthal­mology chair at Harvard Medical School.

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