Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss for those age 60 and older. It results in damage to the macula—a small, sensitive spot in the center of the retina at the back of the eye that is responsible for center vision or seeing straight ahead. The retina turns light into electrical signals that travel through the optic nerve to the brain, which then forms the images you see.
As with most eye diseases, there is little warning or early symptoms. For this reason, it is important that you schedule a yearly comprehensive eye exam for your parent. While AMD is not reversible, an early prognosis can slow down its progression. The earliest symptom is usually blurred or distorted vision that ultimately leads to blank spots in one’s central vision. Colors may appear darker.
There are certain lifestyle choices that have been shown to reduce the risk of developing AMD or slow down its progression. These include:
- Starting a regular exercise program. Include aerobic exercise as well as exercise that promotes flexibility, balance and decreases stress. These can include walking, water aerobics, stationary bicycling as well as tai chi and yoga. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin found that an active lifestyle decreased the chances of developing AMD by 70 percent.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking is the single most controllable risk factor. If your parent needs help quitting this habit, a government sponsored website—Smokefree 60+–offers tips, plans and support for those who are age 60 and over and looking for a way to quit.
- Increase the intake of dark leafy green vegetables. A study conducted at Harvard University found that those who incorporated at least 5 servings of these vegetables into their diet each week had a 43 percent lower risk of developing AMD.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in eye tissue. Incorporating these into one’s diet as well as other nutrients such as vitamin C and E, zinc and copper have proven beneficial. Foods rich in these substances include leafy greens, eggs, broccoli, zucchini and peas.
While there is no known treatment, incorporating these changes into your loved one’s life is presently the choice for a best possible outcome.
Senior Care Provider
If your loved one’s vision has been affected by AMD, consider obtaining the services of a senior care provider. They can assist with the everyday activities of living such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, running errands, providing transportation and companionship.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider home care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.