Ask the Optician – What is AMD?

Ask the Optician – What is AMD

AGE-RELATED Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss for people over the age of 55 in the western world, yet very few people have even heard of it, so below is a brief overview.

What is AMD?

AMD is a degenerative retinal eye disease that causes progressive loss of central vision. It affects the macula, the part of the retina that enables our most acute and detailed vision for tasks such as reading, driving, recognising faces and watching television.

Is there anything that makes you more likely to get it?

According to the World Health Organisation the only established modifiable risk factor is smoking. People who smoke more than double their risk of developing AMD.

Apart from quitting smoking can you do anything to prevent it?

Various studies indicate a link between eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and vitamins C and E and reduced risk of macular degeneration. Experts believe they can have a positive effect as they work to neutralise potentially cell-damaging molecules called ‘free radicals’ which are thought to harm the eye’s lens and macular. Studies are still being done on this link, but it’s good advice for your health and your eyesight to enjoy a variety of fruit, vegetables and whole grains every day.

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