There are a number of lifestyle steps you can take that may offer some protection against AMD.
- Consider taking vitamin and mineral supplements. A study funded by the National Eye Institute, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), found that people who were very likely to develop advanced AMD (those with moderate AMD or with severe AMD in one eye) could reduce their risk by about 25 percent by taking high doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, zinc, and copper. This same group lowered its odds of developing vision loss by about 19 percent. People who weren't yet affected or who were only in the early stages didn't seem to benefit. The AREDS study examined the effect of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 international units of vitamin E, 15 milligrams of beta carotene, and 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide. (Trace amounts of copper are added to the supplements to avoid zinc-induced copper-deficiency anemia.)
- Consume a diet rich in antioxidants. While there are no definitive data on how nutrition might affect a person's risk of AMD and vision loss, certain substances found in vegetables and fruit may offer some protection. Dark-green, leafy vegetables and pigmented fruits, such as oranges, kiwi, spinach, and carrots, are high in antioxidants such as carotenes and lutein and zeaxanthin, which studies have suggested are associated with eye health.
- Protect your eyes. There is no proof that wearing sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection will lower the risk of contracting AMD, but there is substantial evidence of a link between light and AMD.
The necessary research has yet to be conducted on whether manipulating other risk factors for AMD actually lowers the risk of developing the condition. Meantime, it makes sense for your overall vascular health to:
- Quit smoking.
- Control cholesterol levels.
- Control blood pressure.
Last reviewed on 3/23/2010
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