Eye is the most essential sense organ for a normal life. You need a good central vision for reading, working and seeing people and objects. Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common doing these tasks. The retina of your eye must be healthy for this function of sight. The Macular area of the inner eye called retina. It is this part of retina that instantly converts light, or an image, into electrical impulses and sends these impulses, or nerve signals, to the brain. When this Macula is damaged, we lose the central vision.
How is the Macula damaged?
The central vision is damaged as we age. This is called Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is actually a disease associated with aging that gradually affects the eyes and destroys sharp, central vision. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. Though you may not experience any pain, it damages the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. AMD occurs in two forms called wet AMD and dry AMD. Wet AMD is also known as advanced AMD since it does not have stages like the other one. Dry type does not cause much damage to the vision. Generally, this disease remains confined to one eye for long.
Causes of AMD
Though the exact causes for this disease have not yet been found out, various factors such as damaging effect of aging, sunlight, smoking, deficiency of nutrients, particularly anti-oxidants, heredity are the causes of AMD. The main cause is said to be oxidative damage to retinal cells due to free oxygen radicals.
An early symptom of wet AMD is that straight lines appear wavy and blurred. You need more illumination for reading. Difficulty is felt while adapting to low light. The colors may look less bright.
Seven tips for prevention of AMD
1) Eye check an inevitable habit
We cannot stop aging which is a natural process. But we can prevent the damage with proper care. Eyes are strained more these days due to TV, computer and other modern equipments. Hence a periodical eye check up has become inevitable. If you are above 50, undergo regular eye examination, including Grid test and Fundus examination, a least once in a year.
2) Control blood sugar
People with high blood pressure and high cholesterol are at a higher risk of AMD. Hence blood sugar level must be controlled with proper medication and diet control.
3) Control hypertension
Control of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases plays a very vital part in AMD. Researchers have identified that these two diseases influence the occurrence of macular degeneration and controlling them with medication and diet would reduce the risk of AMD.
4) Diet control
A recent study by the University of Wisconsin Medical School revealed that diets rich in saturated fat and cholesterol increase macular degeneration by 80 percent. Avoid saturated fat foods and eat a healthy diet incorporating natural carbohydrates such as beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Soy protein and fish can boost your good cholesterol level. Carotenes and omega 3 fatty acids are suggested as being supportive in the prevention of AMD.
5) Avoid smoking
Smoking may damage eye health causing macular degeneration and so smoking should be avoided. According to statistics, there is a threefold risk among the smokers than in non-smokers of developing AMD during the elderly life.
6) Avoid direct sun light
Sun light, particularly the blue light of the sun’s rays, influences the functioning of the retina and thus can lead to the development of AMD. Therefore, using special eye glasses and wearing a hat can avoid such exposure of sunlight.
7) Yoga exercises can prevent AMD
Yoga exercises such as Pranayama and breathing exercises involving deep breathing can help in preventing AMD. Regular yoga exercises check the progress of this disease.