Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a painless eye condition which causes you to lose the central vision in your eyes.
In the UK, this condition affects more than 600,000 people. One in ten people over the age of 65 are estimated to have some degree of AMD, and it is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK. There’s no complete cure for AMD. But the effects of AMD can be slowed with significant changes being made in your life.
Our diets are one of the most important elements for controlling our health and wellness. In addition to age, smoking and family history, a big risk factor for AMD is a poor diet. But which foods in particular are best for eye health?
As we age we have more oxidative stress, so antioxidants can prevent the damaging effects of the build-up of oxidant chemicals.
If we eat foods which are rich in vitamins and minerals, they will help prevent AMD, as well as having a benefit on our general health.
Vitamin C sources include citrus, peppers, broccoli, and strawberries, while vitamin E sources are peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, broccoli, spinach, safflower seeds, and fortified foods like breakfast cereals.
Studies have found that the causes behind AMD could include chronic inflammation in the retina and the vascular layer of the eye called the choroid.
Consuming anti-inflammatory nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D offer beneficial anti-inflammatory properties, will further protect the eyes from AMD.
If we are trying to prevent AMD, we should look for foods with omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to play a role in the health of the retina’s photoreceptor cell. Sources of these good omega-3’s include cold, deep-water fish like salmon and sardines, as well as walnuts, brussels sprouts, spinach, and omega-3 enriched foods like yoghurt and eggs.
A healthy lifestyle also has an effect on the prevention of AMD.
Avoiding smoking (which doubles your risk of developing the condition), sticking to a regular exercise regime, and maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels will not only help to prevent AMD but will also improve our general health.