Macular degeneration is a major cause of vision loss in people over age 60. There are several potential causes. These include smoking, environmental factors, diet, genetics, and circulatory disorders. One leading theory suggests that when light hits the back of the eye it results in oxidation of cells. This causes a buildup of debris called drusen.
There are many risk factors for macular degeneration. These include:
- Family history of macular degeneration
- Older age
- Too much exposure to ultraviolet light
- Fair skin
- High blood pressure
There are several ways to help prevent macular degeneration. Consider these: Dont smoke (most important). Wear sunglasses regularly. Avoid tanning booths. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, especially the intensely colored ones such as dark greens, squash, and red and yellow peppers. Keep saturated fats to a minimum, and avoid trans fats. Eat more fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
You should also think about taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement. Heres why: In a 10-year study done by the National Eye Institute, researchers showed that antioxidants and zinc can slow down certain types of macular degeneration. The supplement used in the study contained vitamin C 500 milligrams, vitamin E 400 units, beta-carotene 15 milligrams, zinc (as zinc oxide) 80 milligrams, and copper (as cupric oxide) 2 milligrams.