What is the leading cause of blindness for people aged over 55?
It’s something you need to be aware of, because the answer also affects more than 13 million Americans, more people than cataracts and glaucoma.
Macular degeneration (MD) is a serious condition, considered irreversible, leading to eye decay and blindness – and your eye health is something you need to be aware of to keep it at bay.
Scientists are working towards finding a cure and better understanding of this awful condition, but here’s what we do know – and some of it is pretty frightening.
Facts About Macular Degeneration That You Need To Know
1. Doctors don’t know what the cause is
Doctors don’t know a direct cause of MD. The macula of the eye, the area inflicted, is reliant on quality blood flow coming from surrounding and supporting vessels. Anything disturbing healthy blood flow subsequently influences the area of the eye.
Though there is no proven and direct causal relation, the following lifestyles are related to a lack of oxygen and death of cells in the macula of the eye:
- Smoking decreases blood flow by narrowing blood vessels while thickening the blood.
- Diets consisting of high-saturated fats block proper blood flow.
- Low-antioxidant diets lead to blood plaque buildup on blood vessel walls.
Related Story: What Happens To Your Body When You Quit Smoking
2. …but alcohol can increase the risk, no matter what the drink is
A particular study examined over 20,000 subjects, ages ranging from 40 to 69 over a three-year period. The results found those who abstained from drinking were less likely to get MD as compared to peers who consumed more than 2 drinks per day.
Results were similar regardless of drink variety – wine, beer, or spirits. Moreover, the results were the same for both sexes. Though some medical literature suggests consuming mild doses of alcohol helps the heart, this apparently isn’t the case for eye health.
Related Story: 7 Benefits Of Red Wine
3. The symptoms are nothing short of scary
Unfortunately, macular degeneration affects both eyes, and the symptoms aren’t exactly kind. At first, distorted vision or wavy ‘lines’ appear in one eye.
Eventually, degeneration of vision occurs, making it difficult to see far and close. Furthermore, those inflicted may have trouble seeing colors and faces clearly.
As a strange side note, patients report periphery vision (ability to see out of the ‘side’ of the eye) goes unaffected.
Related Story: Headache Or Migraine: What’s The Difference?
4. Once you’ve got MD, there is no known cure for it
As mentioned, the true origin and cure for macular degeneration is yet discovered, but there are a number of choices and lifestyle modifications exacted to prevent the facilitation of plaque buildup and vision loss:
- Avoid the habit of smoking, as well as second-hand smoke.
- Wear UV-protected sunglasses during the summer months and all year.
- Eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and fish.
- -Also eat antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries.
- -Take supplemental vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc
5. The main way to prevent it: get your eyes checked, and often
As one grows older, the body grows susceptible to inflictions and disease. Get educated about macular degeneration detection. For example, a visual acuity exam, given by an eye specialist, detects signs of MD.
Furthermore, ‘ultrasounds’ performed on the eye can also help doctors detect signs.
Related Story: 4 Best Doctors For Chronic Illness
Macular degeneration is very frightening, and something that more people need to know about. However, don’t fret. There is no direct way to reverse macular degeneration, but there are ways to keep your eye health at its best!
Steve Tucker adores eyes even after being a practicing optometrist for many years. When it comes to eye health, some may call him strict, but he understands the value and preciousness of vision and overall eye health.Visit non12step-drugrehabs.org for more information and help on improving your health.
Researched by Lisa Patterson
Photo by IyScape