What can be done to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration?
The New England Eye Center at Tufts Medical Center recommends the following healthy habits, and your health care provider may give similar recommendations.
- Do not smoke. Read more about how smoking and quitting smoking affects macular degeneration and eye health.
- Eat healthy foods with a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collard greens. Eat fruit.
- Eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at least once or twice a week. This includes salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and albacore tuna.
- Avoid processed snack foods such as cakes, cookies, potato chips, candy, and soft drinks. Read more about why junk food is bad for eye health.
- Avoid partially hydrogenated fats such as coconut or palm oils. Use oil from olives, canola, or flaxseed in moderation.
- Maintain normal blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise. Walk half an hour every day, or participate in more strenuous activities if possible, like yoga, aerobic activities, or sports.
- Wear sunglasses and a hat with a visor in bright sunlight to protect your eyes from potentially harmful ultra-violet (UV) light and blue light.
- If you have symptoms of macular degeneration or a family history of AMD and an unhealthy diet, take supplements which include lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil).
More About Diet and Nutrition for Helping Macular Degeneration
Eat large quantities of dark green leafy vegetables rich in carotenoids, the yellowish pigments that include precursors of Vitamin A. Spinach and collard greens are possibly the most beneficial vegetables in this respect. Two yellow pigments found in the macula known as lutein and zeaxanthin are also found in these vegetables, and are thought to filter out visible blue light which might possibly damage the macula. Therefore, these two yellow pigments may protect the macula from light damage (click here for a table listing foods rich in these carotenoids).
Antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplements may help – Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Read more about Eating Right for Your Sight and nutritional supplements for macular degeneration.
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