What is macular degeneration?SG SHOT/Shutterstock
It’s the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the elderly—worse than cataracts and glaucoma, though as we age our eyes become more vulnerable to many damaging conditions. Make sure you’re practicing these 39 simple habits that protect your eyes.
The back wall of the eye, called the retina, has a central section, called the macula, which is responsible for many key components of our sight, including our ability to read, recognize faces and colors, drive a car, and detect fine details. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the deterioration of the macula and the resulting loss of those important functions. AMD affects over 10 million Americans, says the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF). There are two types: The more common “dry” form (caused by the thinning and atrophying of the macula) and the less common “wet” form (caused by the formation of blood vessels under the retina and macula that may leak).
What your diet can doStock-Asso/Shutterstock
The good news is, a growing body of evidence is finding that the right diet can slash your chances of developing AMD. (Check out these surprising ways to improve your eyesight—no carrots.) “Nutrition can be a powerful way to keep our eyes functioning into old age,” says Angel Planells, MS, RDN, Seattle-based founder of ACP Nutrition, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM, Professor of Ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine, director of the Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Genetics Service at Tufts Medical Center, and co-author of the book Eat Right for Your Sight agrees: “I think more and more people are coming to appreciate the impact nutritional factors have on eye disease,” she says.