Bob Ferguson Wellness Blog - 6 Simple Steps to Reduce Vision Loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Bob Ferguson Wellness Blog -
Guest Blog Post by Dr. Diane Prather
6 Simple Steps to Reduce Vision Loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The rate of vision loss is increasing for people 40 years old and older. The latest report is this vision loss is due to Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Let’s take a look (pun intended) at what you can do to beat the odds.
Major Risk Factors for AMD
Lifestyle choices -Smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are risk factors for AMD
Diet -Diets lacking adequate nutrients are another major risk factor. It’s been reported that nutritional value of foods is decreasing. 2
Ultraviolet light -UV rays can also increase the risk of macular degeneration
What Can You Do?
1. Stop smoking, maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels
2. Include vision supporting foods
The right nutrition can optimize macular health, so an eye-healthy diet is important in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It could also slow the progression of AMD. In general we want a diet high in antioxidants and foods that are densely colored. Some examples:
Vitamin C - citrus fruits, berries, melons, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes
Vitamin E - vegetable oils, almonds, pistachio nuts, peanuts, wheat germ, whole grains, turnip greens, and mango
Beta-carotene - carrot, sweet potatoes, spinach, dark leafy green vegetables, melon, cantaloupe, winter squash, and apricots
Zinc - chicken, pork, liver, eggs, wheat germ, fortified breakfast cereals, and seafood
Copper - liver, cocoa beans, nuts, whole grains, seafood, and dried fruits
Lutein - spinach, kale, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, dill, red peppers and guava
Zeaxanthin - orange sweet peppers, broccoli, corn, turnip greens, collard greens, dark leafy greens, tangerines, oranges, eggs and persimmon
You can do a no-cost personalized nutrition assessment to determine if you are getting all the eye protecting nutrients that you need. Learn more by clicking here: Meology
3. Wear Sunglasses
Wear good quality sunglasses outdoors that protect your eyes from Ultra-violet (UV) radiation.
4. Test Yourself with an Amsler Grid
Download your own Amsler Grid to test at home.
5. Computer Screentime
There are mixed messages on this topic. Does too much time spent in front of a computer screen or mobile device put you at risk of macular degeneration? Some experts say yes and others say no. They all agree screentime can have negative influences on your circadian rhythms.
1 Rein DB, Wittenborn JS, Burke-Conte Z, et al. Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the US in 2019. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2022;140(12):1202–1208. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2022.4401
2 Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6):669-82. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2004.10719409. PMID: 15637215.
3 Diet and Age-Related Macular Degeneration https://www.brighamandwomens.org/patients-and-families/meals-and-nutrition/bwh-nutrition-and-wellness-hub/special-topics/macular-degeneration
4 Zhao ZC, Zhou Y, Tan G, Li J. Research progress about the effect and prevention of blue light on eyes. Int J Ophthalmol. 2018 Dec 18;11(12):1999-2003. doi: 10.18240/ijo.2018.12.20. PMID: 30588436; PMCID: PMC6288536.
Dr. Prather has a life-long interest in preventive health care. Early training began as the daughter of a veterinarian. She found it interesting to observe how contemporary medical care, as well as preventive care was applied while caring for animals.
Dr. Prather completed her Doctor of Optometry at the University of Houston -College of Optometry (UHCO) in 1981. She setup an eye care practice in the Houston, TX area. She also begin teaching at UHCO in the Community Health Tract. Recognizing the benefits of preventive eye health care, she continued her studies and completed her Masters in Public Health at the University of Texas -School of Public Health in 1985. Dr. Prather’s career involved setting up eye care programs for screening Texas school children prior to entry into the public school system, as well as a home-care program, and programs for South Texas Migrant workers. Dr. Prather completed Ayurvedic Physician Training in 1998. She maintains her Texas license and enjoys ongoing learning in well-care.
She and her late-husband, John Huff, M.D., raised two sons in Fairfield, Iowa.
Dr. Prather is retired and enjoying consulting with people to support their health and well-being.