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Eyefoods Tips: Smoking

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

Smoking is the number 1 modifiable risk factor for leading cause of blindness in the world – AMD

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic disease of the central part of the retina, the macula. It is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world.

There are two forms of AMD: dry AMD which is more common and wet AMD.

Dry AMD occurs when cells in the macula begin to break down, causing a thinning of the macula and a gradual decrease in vision.  In addition the retina is unable to rid itself of its metabolic wasted – lipofuscin and it accumulates in the retina as drusen , which blocks normal functioning of the retina.

Dry AMD can lead to wet AMD. Wet AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the choroid, which provides blood supply to the retina.  The new vessels are weak and can lead fluid into the retina, causing a decrease in vision that is more rapid and dramatic than in dry AMD.

Smoking is one of the highest risk factors for AMD as it promotes oxidative damage to the retina.

Eyecare professionals recommend that most patients with AMD take and AREDs- type vitamin supplement and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. However, numerous studies have shown a relationship between nutrition and AMD. Some key nutrients for the prevention of AMD are, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and, omega-3 fatty acids.

For the best treatment plan for you it is best to consult with your optometrist.