Macular degeneration is not a diagnosis you want to receive. Unfortunately, as many as 11 million people in the U.S. are living with some form of the disease. While there is no current cure for macular degeneration, there are some things you can do to make daily living a little easier.
What is Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the central part of the retina (the macula) which causes blurred or loss of vision in the central field of vision. It may happen very slowly at first but become more severe as it progresses, and it may occur in one or both eyes. And while it may not cause complete blindness, losing your central vision can make activities like driving, cooking or reading much more difficult.
How to Change Your Lifestyle After a Macular Degeneration Diagnosis
There is no quick fix for macular degeneration, but a change of lifestyle can definitely help to improve symptoms or prevent it from getting worse.
- Quit smoking – studies have shown a strong link between smoking and developing macular degeneration, so the best thing to do for the health of your eyes is to quit immediately.
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods – the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are good for retinal health and can help stop progression of the disease. And fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which are thought to improve eye health.
- See your doctors regularly – visit your primary care doctor to keep an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol, and see your eye doctor for regular eye exams to monitor the disease and discuss alternative treatment options if necessary, as well as adjust your eyeglass prescription when appropriate.
- Improve lighting in the house – using brighter lamps that cover the whole room, desk lamps for targeted light or under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen can all aid in vision around the house.
- Take advantage of low vision electronic aids – there are a multitude of low vision products out there that can help when your eyesight is not as good as it used to be. Try handheld or desktop magnifiers, large-button phones, clocks with large numbers, or try audio books if reading becomes difficult.
It is important to remember – the only way to diagnose macular degeneration is through a comprehensive eye exam, which is why it is so important to visit us on a regular basis. Early detection can allow for more treatment options, and early treatment can help stop the disease from progressing. Don’t put off your eye exam – contact Family Vision Development Center at 630-862-2020 or visit us online to learn more.
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