How You Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Creating a tapestry of vivid colors and patterns, Geri Wires, an avid quilter, relies on her sight to create her art. So, in 2007 after her dilated eye exam and speaking with her eye doctor, she was alarmed at the diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at age 64. AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss among people 50 and older and affects 16 million Americans – more than glaucoma and cataracts combined.
“After my diagnosis, the reality of AMD and its potential effects on my vision became very serious to me,” Wires said. To help manage her condition, Wires began taking Bausch + Lomb PreserVision® AREDS 2 Formula eye vitamins twice daily at her doctor’s suggestion as part of an action plan that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. PreserVision® AREDS 2 formula eye vitamins contain the nutrient formula recommended by National Eye Institute (NEI) researchers to help reduce the risk of progression in people with moderate to advanced AMD.
AMD is a progressive eye condition caused by degeneration of the part of the retina that impacts central vision. Early-stage AMD often does not present any symptoms or vision changes, as symptoms usually appear gradually over time. In its later stages, AMD can lead to difficulty with daily activities like driving, reading, or recognizing the faces of loved ones, according to the NEI.
New NEI data shows specific vitamin mix can help reduce risk of AMD progression
In 2001, data from the AREDS2 study demonstrated that taking a specific combination of antioxidants and zinc could help reduce the risk of progression of AMD. Most recently in May 2021, results of the 10-year follow-up on the AREDS2 study show that a specific nutrient mix and dosage, known as the AREDS 2 formula, continues to reduce the risk of AMD progression and further clarify the importance of an AREDS 2 supplement as part of a patient’s action plan.
The exact combination of vitamins and minerals in the AREDS 2 formula – vitamin C (500mg), vitamin E (400 IU), lutein (10mg)/zeaxanthin (2mg), zinc (80mg zinc oxide) and copper (2mg cupric oxide) – is difficult to achieve from diet alone, and standard multivitamins or other eye vitamins generally do not contain the same level of nutrients.
Today, Wires continues to take her eye vitamins as part of her overall plan to help manage her condition and visits her eye doctor every six weeks for a check-up.
“I’m involved in a group that helps sew masks for the community and without taking steps to help reduce the risk of progression of my AMD, I may not have been able to help sew more than 1,000 masks at the height of the pandemic,” Wires said. “I’m glad that by working with my eye doctor and following my plan, I’m still able to quilt and enjoy time with my family.”
Reducing your risk of AMD
As people age, their risk of eye-related diseases like AMD increases dramatically, according to U.S. Census data. Smokers, women and those with a family history of AMD are at higher risk of developing AMD.
Over 50? The following lifestyle changes recommended by NEI can help protect your eye health.
1. Quit smoking. Smokers are at higher risk. If you smoke, preserving your vision is a good reason to quit.
2. Stay active. Regular exercise may lower your risk or slow progression of the disease.
3. Safeguard against UV light. Especially if you work outdoors, protect your eyes with sunglasses.
4. Boost your diet. Maintain a healthy diet and take vitamins that contribute to eye health and ask your eye doctor what eye vitamin is appropriate for you.
5. Get regular eye exams. See your eye care provider regularly to help detect minor changes that may otherwise go unnoticed. Eye doctors can check for AMD as part of a comprehensive dilated eye exam. During this painless exam, your doctor will give you some eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil and then check your eyes for AMD and other eye problems.
To learn more about AMD, visit SightMatters.com.
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