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Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month: What Is It and What Helps to Prevent It

Macular Degeneration is an eye disease that affects the macula, located towards the back of the eye, along the retina. The macula is the part of the eye that is responsible for processing light in order to generate sharp, detailed and clear images that are then sent to the brain. Macular Degeneration typically does not appear until age 40, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMG) typically develops in people aged 55 and older.

Because of its prevalence among family members, it is believed that genetics play a major role in the development of Macular Degeneration. Genetics also plays a role in AMG; however with AMG the simple aging process seems to be the bigger contributing factor.

Several risk factors have also been associated with the onset of Macular Degeneration. Smoking is believed to have a significant impact on its development. If you smoke, you can add reducing the risk of developing Macular Degeneration to the list of reasons why you should quit – now!

Age is a factor in Macular Degeneration, too. Rarely is this disease diagnosed in persons under the age of 40. The older a person gets, the greater the chances become that he or she will begin to develop symptoms of this eye disease. Gender is thought to be a factor as well, with females being at greater risk than men.

More studies are being conducted to determine whether a person’s diet can increase or decrease the risks. Early results seem to be suggesting a connection to the onset of Macular Degeneration and an increased intake of saturated fats/high cholesterol levels. A decrease in antioxidant levels is cause for concern too. Antioxidants, found in fruits and vegetables, help prevent cells from oxidizing, a process that leads to their ultimate destruction.

Eat plenty of spinach, citrus, nuts and lean beef. An organic diet consisting of such food items can reduce the risk of vision loss by 35 percent for people between 70 and 85 years of age, as per a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The following vitamins have been found to improve, protect and support eye health: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E.

Some minerals and compounds believed to be crucial to the health of eyes are zinc, selenium, lutein and bioflavonoids.

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