Bad Habits I Can Live Without

Some things you are doing now may be making your macular degeneration worse and setting you up for more vision loss in the future. Changing your behavior today can help.

Stop Smoking!
Smoking increases your risk of developing macular degeneration two to 5 times! If you have a family history of AMD and your genes contain a certain “complement factor”, your smoking is increasing your risk up to 200 fold.

Macular degeneration appears to be related to the efficiency of the circulatory system and smoking can affect your circulation.

Tobacco appears to interfere with the absorption of lutein, an important antioxidant that protects the retina. Smokers are likely to have low levels of lutein and they are at greater risk of developing macular degeneration than nonsmokers. So, if you’ve been trying to quit smoking, here’s another good reason to stop!

Reduce High Blood Pressure
The eye is a highly vascular organ and it has a rich supply of blood vessels. In fact, the rate of blood exchange in the eye is the highest in the body. The link between high blood pressure and AMD has been the subject of much research.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your doctor check for it. There are no symptoms, which is why it is called “the silent killer”. If you have high blood pressure, it can be controlled by following your doctor’s instructions. This may involve changes in diet and/or medication.

Reduce Cholesterol
People with high cholesterol have a greater chance of developing macular degeneration. But, people with high cholesterol who took “statins” to reduce their cholesterol had a lower risk.

Lose Weight
People who are obese have a higher incidence of AMD.

Avoid Saturated Fat and Processed Foods
Research shows that saturated fat contributes to AMD. Processed foods like commercial baked goods contain this unhealthy fat.