How Can Diet Affect Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
If you are diagnosed with macular degeneration, especially age-related macular degeneration (AMD), you may be concerned about the best method for preserving your eyesight. While AMD is a chronic condition, medical studies have shown that there are several treatments that can slow its progression or reduce the risk of it developing. If you are diagnosed with AMD, changing your diet is one way to slow the progress of the condition, especially for dry AMD.
Eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, low in saturated fats and cholesterol, low in refined sugar or processed carbohydrates, and high in specific vitamins and minerals not only improves your overall health but can reduce the risk of AMD.
Studies show that reducing the amount of carbohydrates with a high glycemic index helps to slow the progress of AMD. This means eating fewer refined sugars and carbohydrates, like white bread, white rice and sugar. These foods cause a quick spike in blood sugar. In comparison, whole grains take more time to digest, which does not spike your blood sugar, and they are better for your gut microbiome.
Vitamin A is an essential part of helping reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Beta-carotene rich foods, like carrots, are an essential part of good nutrition and maintaining good vision habits. There are several animal-based foods that are rich in vitamin A including beef liver, chicken liver and ricotta cheese.
The nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin have been found useful in reducing the risk of AMD and slowing it when it develops. The following foods are high in these nutrients:
- Leafy green vegetables like kale, turnip greens, spinach and collards
- Broccoli and brussels sprouts
- Peas and green beans
- Citrus fruits, especially oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines
In the early stages of macular degeneration, you are not likely to notice any vision loss or issues with your central vision. This is why regular eye exams are so important. During a routine exam in Phoenix, your doctor will check for higher levels of drusen collecting around the retina or see if new blood vessels are growing around this area.