Macular Degeneration Prevention
Macular degeneration prevention includes such things as having regular eye exams, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and avoiding certain risk factors. Although people who engage in these prevention methods may still develop the disease, the risk is greatly reduced for most people. Your doctor can help you determine which macular degeneration prevention options are right for you.
While there may not be a way to prevent macular degeneration from occurring, there are some things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease. First, know the macular degeneration risk factors (see Causes of Macular Degeneration). Macular degeneration prevention means avoiding the risk factors and increasing the protective factors that can be controlled. While this does not guarantee that someone will not develop macular degeneration, it does decrease the chances.
Regular eye exams will not prevent macular degeneration. However, regular eye exams may allow macular degeneration to be caught early, when certain treatments are more effective. Talk to your doctor about how frequently you should have an eye exam.
Your lifestyle can play a role in reducing your risk of developing macular degeneration. Some lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk include:
- Eating a healthy diet that includes fish and green, leafy vegetables
- Not smoking
- Maintaining normal blood pressure
- Watching your weight
Studies have suggested that a diet rich in dark green, leafy vegetables -- such as spinach, collard greens, or mustard greens -- lowers the risk of macular degeneration. These foods are a source of important nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. But experts say it's important to recognize that a balanced diet is generally important for eye health, the same way it is for the rest of the body.