Macular Degeneration

Dick Fields, Public Affairs Officer

Dick Fields, Public Affairs Officer

Medical experts are not sure what causes age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but some factors may increase your risk of

developing it.

.Risk factors 1. Age: One third of adults over 75 are affected by AMD

.Risk factors 2. Smoking increases a person’s chance of developing AMD by 2 to 5 fold! Because the retina has a high rate of oxygen consumption, anything that affects oxygen delivery to the retina may affect vision. Smoking causes oxidative damage, which may contribute to the development and progression of this disease.

.Risk factors 3. Family History of AMD: A person is more likely to develop AMD if someone in his or her immediate family has had it.

.Risk factors 4. Gender: Females are more likely to develop AMD than males. Since they live longer this may be the cause .

.Risk factors 5. Race: Caucasians are more likely to develop AMD than other races. This factor may be related to differences in genetic background or pigmentation.

.Risk factors 6. Prolonged Sun Exposure: Some studies suggest an association between AMD and cumulative eye damage from UV and other light. This light may damage the retina and increase the risk of AMD.

.Risk factors 7. Diet: People with diets high in fat, cholesterol and sugar and low in antioxidants and green leafy vegetables may be more likely to develop AMD .

.Risk factors 8. Obesity: A person with a body mass Index over 30 is 20 times more likely to develop AMD.

.Risk factors 9. High blood pressure: This leads to a constriction of the blood vessels that nourish the retina, restricting oxygen flow.

.Risk factors 10. Eye color: people with light-colored eyes are more likely to develop the dry type of AMD. This may be because light pigmented eyes offer less protection from damaging UV light.

.Risk factors 11. Genes may play a role. TIPS for Prevention of AMD: Maintain a healthy weight. Don’t smoke. Eat green leafy vegetables. .Maintain normal blood pressure. Exercise regularly. Wear sunglasses and a hat when in the sun. Get regular eye exams, and consult your doctor if you notice vision changes.


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