February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, but new treatments have dramatically changed the course of this disease over the last 10 years, making AMD more manageable than ever before. During AMD Awareness Month in February, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding people with AMD that they can save their vision thanks to recent treatment advances, but early detection (annual exams) is a critical first step. Read below for AMD treatments/behavioral modifications:

Stop Smoking / Stay away from Second-hand Smoking.

Smoking is the largest modifiable risk factor for the progression of both wet and dry AMD. STOP SMOKING!!

Lifestyle Modifications with respect to Diet and Exercise.

Following a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining overall health are sound goals for all patients. Furthermore, these lifestyle choices may help in delaying or even aid in the prevention of the onset or progression of AMD. Dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, and colorful vegetables, such yellow bell peppers and carrots, are among the best choices for your eyes.

Nutritional supplementation.

Although there is extensive debate about which supplements are most appropriate, evidence strongly suggests taking them because, on average, patients that take supplements have better outcomes. MacuHealth is one such supplement that Dr. VanDerPloeg recommends. It is the only one with all three macular carotenoids.

Systemic disease management.

Several systemic conditions carry an increased risk of the development of AMD. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity have all been associated with increased risk of AMD and/or progression of AMD.

UV and blue light protection.

Many studies suggest that chronic sunlight exposure increases the risk and progression of AMD. Also, newer studies are ongoing looking at whether blue light has an effect on AMD incidence or progression. Given these studies, Dr. VanDerPloeg recommends everyone (young and old) wear sunglasses and consider a blue light filter coating on their glasses.

Monitoring.

Having annual eye exams is very important for the early detection of AMD. Vigilant monitoring by Dr. VanDerPloeg with retinal imaging is vital for the early detection and prompt diagnosis of macular degeneration.

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