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Is there anything I can do to prevent macular degeneration?


There are no studies that show that taking vitamin supplements will prevent macular degeneration. There are well designed studies that do show once a person develops early signs of macular degeneration (we look for those signs in a routine eye exam), taking specific supplements greatly reduces the risk of developing a more serious and vision threatening form of macular degeneration (a second phase of the AREDS study looking at luetin, zeaxanthin and Omega 3 as well as reducing the Vitamin A (which smokers cannot take) and the amount of zinc recommended from the first study, will be completed in the next couple of years.) So the question is what to do if you have a family history of macular degeneration? If you smoke, stop. Smoking increases the risk of macular degeneration three times and smokers develop macular degeneration 6–10 years earlier than nonsmokers. They also don’t respond to treatment as well as non-smokers. Exercise regularly and eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits of many colors, with regular servings of oily fish like tuna, salmon, herring and sardines. The take-home lesson is that macular degeneration is a symptom of a systemic inflammatory disease. The processes that are causing the leaky blood vessels in the eyes are most likely happening in other parts of the body, so prevention has to be a whole-body approach.