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AMD: Five Risk Factors

Created February 9, 2017 by in Retina Specialist
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What is AMD?

Age-Related Macular Degeneration is a disease that blurs the sharp, central vision you need for “straight-ahead” activities such as reading, writing, and driving. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. While painless, it can have a very dramatic impact on one’s quality of life, as it can make it difficult for one to drive, cook, or carry out other essential tasks.

What causes AMD?

While the exact cause of age-related macular degeneration is unknown, several risk factors have been identified as predicting the likelihood one develops AMD in their lifetime. While some of these are beyond our control, such as age or genetics, there are quite a few that we can control:

1. Smoking: As we’ve documented before, smoking can have an adverse effect on one’s vision over time., current smokers have a two-to-three times higher risk for developing age-related macular degeneration than people have who never smoked. Smoking causes oxidative damage and limits the oxygen supply to the retina, making one more likely to develop AMD.

2. Too Much Sunlight: We are all familiar with the dangers of UV rays and the importance of sunglasses, but it’s actually the blue wavelengths from the sun that damage the macula, not the UV rays. Check out our post on night vision syndrome for more information on what blue light can do.

3.Diet: A diet high in processed foods and low in fruits and vegetables can also increase one’s risk of developing AMD. However, low glycemic foods such as whole grain breads or oatmeal can lower the risk of AMD by stabilizing blood sugar levels.

4.High blood pressure and cholesterol: Those with hypertension are 1.5 times more likely to develop wet macular degeneration than persons without hypertension.

5. Obesity: Being overweight more than doubles a person’s risk of developing AMD. – When it comes to disease and chronic illnesses, there are some factors that are simply out of our control. However, by being cognizant of these five risk factors, one can greatly reduce their chances of developing AMD and maintain a high quality of life.

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