The mechanism of macular degeneration is not yet fully understood. AMD is defined as a multifactorial disease. The main reason for its formation is aging. Other factors which cause AMD include: genetic predisposition, or family predisposition to the disease, female sex, white race, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. AMD is a progressive disease – it subsequently worsens with age, going from mild to advanced forms. It is important for early detection of changes in the retina, which will allow rapid medical intervention and delayed development and alleviation of symptoms. In this case, prevention is highly desirable.
• Age – Your risk of macular degeneration increases as you age, especially after age 50. Macular degeneration is most common in people older than 65.
• Family history
• Race – Macular degeneration is more common in whites (Caucasians) than it is in other races
• Obesity and unhealthy diet
• Low Macular Pigment (key risk factor in development of AMD)
• Cardiovascular diseases
• Elevated cholesterol
To reduce the risk of developing AMD it is important to modify those environmental factors that we know about. You should:
• Eat a low-fat, low cholesterol diet.
• Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
• Consume more leafy, dark green vegetables
• Quit smoking, avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
If you are post-menopausal, you should consult with your physician concerning estrogen replacement therapy. This may have a favorable impact upon cholesterol lipid levels that play a role in worsening the disease.
Develop healthy habits! Quit smoking, start exercising, eat a healthy diet, which will help maintain normal blood pressure, cholesterol levels. Eat food and-or supplements rich in vitamin A, E,C and lutein. Lutein is a plant antioxidant found in high quantities in spinach, kale and other dark green, leafy vegetables. People who eat fish and green leafy vegetables may be at lower risk of AMD. There is no treatment for early dry AMD, although a special combination of supplements (zinc and antioxidant vitamins) may slow progression in some people with more advanced disease. Early intervention for wet AMD can delay progression.