Macular degeneration can cause severe vision loss, and is more common with the elderly. When this happens, the small portion of your retina, also known as the macular, deteriorates. Your retina is nerve tissue located at the back of your eyes that senses light. Even though you cannot completely prevent this from happening, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances.
Stopping smoking is one of the best ways to prevent macular degeneration. When you smoke, less oxygen goes to your eyes, which can cause cells to die on your retinas. The poison in cigarettes also thicken the walls of your eye vessels, which causes a restriction of blood flow going to the retinas.
Quitting smoking can be difficult. To help you, visit your doctor, who may be able to prescribe medication to help you. There are also support groups that can help you stop. Quitting with other people at the same time can give you a better chance of stopping. If you still have problems, there are nicotine replacement products on the market to help the level of nicotine gradually leave your body.
Eat Green Vegetables
You should add some dark, leafy green vegetables to your diet to help prevent macular degeneration.
These vegetables are rich in two antioxidants: zeaxanthin and lutein. These antioxidants are types of carotenoids, which are red to yellow pigments. Both zeaxanthin and lutein absorbs the harmful sun's rays, and protects your eyes.
Some vegetables you should add to your diet include:
- Beet greens
- Bitter leaf
- Brussel sprouts
Take Vitamins and Minerals
Taking vitamins and minerals is not only good for your body, but can also aid you in eye health. Sometimes it can be difficult to obtain the vitamins and nutrients your body needs from your diet alone.
Your doctor can perform tests to determine the vitamins and minerals your body is low in. They can then prescribe the proper supplements for you, or you can purchase them from a health food store or pharmacy.
Reduce Refined Carbs
Highly refined carbs have a high glycemic index, which increases your blood sugar and insulin release. This increases your chance of developing cataracts, as well as macular degeneration. High glycemic foods increase the sugar consumption in your eyes. This promotes inflammation and oxidative stress in your eyes, and can damage your retinas.
Foods you should stay away from are anything that is sugary, white bread, flour tortillas, corn, bananas, and more. Talk with your doctor or a dietician, who can give you a complete list of foods that are high in carbs.
Visiting your optometrist for a regular eye exam can help him or her detect macular degeneration. If so, they will monitor it and give you proper treatment. (For more information, contact Malkani Retina Center)