Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when there’s an increase in the number of free radicals in your eyes. These unstable molecules may damage your macula, which is responsible for providing your central vision. To lower your risk of developing AMD, it’s important to educate yourself on what causes the disease.
Read on as your optical care specialist from Alderwood Optical and Canyon Park Vision Clinic discusses the major risk factors for AMD development.
As you age, the number of free radicals in your body typically increases. In fact, a large study found that individuals aged 60 and above are more likely to develop AMD than younger people. While participants had a 2% risk when they were middle-aged, this rose to 30% upon turning 75.
Like many eye conditions, your family medical history plays a role in your likelihood of developing AMD. Experts have found that those who have a parent, sibling or any other relative with AMD are more likely to develop this condition. This is why your eye doctor will ask you about your family medical history during your eye exam.
Smoking increases your risk of developing AMD by two- to five-fold. As the retina consumes a high amount of oxygen to function, anything that compromises the quality or delivery of oxygen to your eyes may affect your visual health. Cigarettes and other tobacco products also contain compounds that lead to oxidative damage, which may contribute to free radical formation and AMD development.
Your optometrist adds that a diet high in artificial fats or processed foods may put you at risk of developing AMD. Artificial fats contain various laboratory-produced chemicals that your body cannot metabolize, while processed foods are rich in omega-6 fatty acids that promote inflammation, leading to AMD progression.
In AMD, particularly the dry type, the retina doesn’t receive enough oxygen. As a result, the cells in your macula slowly die. Exercise promotes better blood flow in your body, so becoming physically fit can help reduce your risk of developing this condition.
To learn more about major AMD risk factors, call us at (425) 771-8472 for Alderwood Optical or (425) 485-0430 for Canyon Park Vision Clinic. We serve Bothell and the surrounding WA communities.