Lifestyle Tips For Managing Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration doesn’t happen overnight — it’s a progressive disease. You start to realize your vision is giving you difficulty with everyday tasks, such as reading a road sign, ordering from a menu, or dialing the numbers on your phone. Many people lose vision as they age due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), especially those who are 50 and older.
Although AMD can present challenges in everyday life, there are lots of things you can do to make sure it doesn't stand in the way of you living a full, productive, and enjoyable life.
Healthy Habits for Managing AMD
Eat an eye-healthy diet
Be sure to fill your diet with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens are particularly helpful, as well as fatty fish such as tuna and salmon. These foods will provide you with antioxidants that support a healthy retina.
Develop an exercise routine
According to the CDC, you should be exercising 150 minutes per week. It doesn’t have to be a complicated gym routine or involve a personal trainer – you can start with a simple daily walk. Regular exercise helps maintain blood pressure which supports retinal health.
Smokers are more susceptible to developing AMD earlier than non-smokers and experience more severe symptoms. In fact, smoking more than doubles the risk of developing the condition.
See your doctor regularly
Schedule regular check-ups with both your primary care doctor and your ophthalmologist. Maintaining optimal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure will help to slow the onset and progression of AMD.
Optimizing Your Home for Managing AMD
Improve the lighting
Add more lamps to darker areas of your home and use a gooseneck lamp when you have more detailed tasks to complete. Replace existing light bulbs with those of higher wattage. Carry a high-lumen pocket flashlight for when you need to use fine motor skills.
Increase contrast within your field of view wherever possible. For instance, put a dark tablecloth on your table if you’re working with white bills or other paperwork. Or if you’re making a grocery list, use a bold, thick marker to help the words stand out more.
Inside your home, take the time to cover shiny surfaces or shift the lighting so there’s little or no glare impacting your vision. If you’re outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat, visor, or baseball cap to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare.
Use low-vision aids
Use magnifying spectacles for close-up tasks, or place stand magnifiers over your working area – some of these devices even contain lights or other built-in insights to aid you in your task.
Modify living spaces
Keep common walking areas free of any objects or obstructions. Mark handrails, steps, and stairs with bold, bright tape so they’re easily noticeable. Install handrails on steps and stairs to help you get around.
Use non-optical devices
Take advantage of large print books, magazines, and bank checks. Download or stream audiobooks to consume information without straining your eyes. Purchase household devices such as telephones, thermostats, watches, and remote controls that have large-print numbers and brightly colored contrast.
Currently, there is no cure for AMD, but these tips can help you continue living an enjoyable and productive lifestyle. However, if you notice that your vision is changing or getting worse, it’s best to seek care from a retina specialist. If you’re located in the Sarasota Gulf Coast area of South Florida and would like to schedule a macular degeneration consultation, contact Retina Group of Florida today.