I have decided to write about macular degeneration because it is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the United States, especially for people over the age of 50. The macula is found in the back part of the eye, called the retina, where fine-tuning of vision occurs before the images are sent to the optic nerve. The macula specifically affects the sight with the direct line of vision.
There are two types of macular degeneration: wet the dry form. The most common form of macular degeneration is the dry form, which causes a wasting away of the cells in the retina. This is a gradual process that interrupts the eye's ability to see clearly. Central vision becomes is lost while peripheral vision is maintained. This means you cannot see directly in front of you but you can still see the sides of the visual field.
In wet macular degeneration, the small blood vessels of the eye begin to grow abnormally. In this form, if it is caught early enough, it can be treated effectively by reducing the abnormal blood vessel using laser surgery.
The risk factors for the dry form of macular degeneration include smoking, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries. Since this is a slow and progressing disease, the best prevention comes from living a lifestyle focused on reduction of free radicals and heart healthy living. Preventing free radical damage can be achieved by preventing smoking, reducing stress in daily life, eating a healthy whole foods diet, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly.
When we think about foods to encourage, fruits and vegetables are at the topic of the list. The more colorful your plate at every meal, the better for your heart, your arteries and your eyes! Fried-foods increase free radical so avoiding those foods is extremely important.
A heart healthy life includes many of the same recommendations as preventing free radicals. I would add having regular lab tests and check-ups from your doctor as methods of prevention and awareness.
Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.com
Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious!