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Jul 1, 2024

Who is Most Likely to Develop Macular Degeneration?

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Jul 1, 2024

Who is Most Likely to Develop Macular Degeneration?

Request Appointment

Macular degeneration, commonly known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is an eye condition that affects many older adults, leading to vision loss in the center of the visual field. This eye condition affects millions of people around the world and understanding who is most likely to develop it can help you take steps to protect your vision. 

While anyone can develop macular degeneration, certain factors can increase your risk of developing the condition. These include: 

Age 

As we get older, our risk of developing this condition increases. Individuals over the age of 50 are at a higher risk compared to younger age groups. This is because as we age, our eyes undergo changes that make us more susceptible to macular degeneration. 

Family history 

If you have a family history of AMD, you may be more likely to develop the condition yourself. If your parents or siblings have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, make sure to discuss this with your eye doctor so they can monitor your eyes more closely. 

Smoking 

Smoking is another major risk factor for macular degeneration. The chemicals in cigarettes can damage blood vessels in the eyes and increase inflammation, which can contribute to the development of AMD. If you smoke, quitting can greatly reduce your risk for macular degeneration and many other health issues. 

Race and ethnicity 

Macular degeneration can affect people of any race or ethnicity, but it’s seen more in Caucasians than in other groups. Also, those of European descent might have a higher risk than African or Hispanic descent individuals. 

Obesity and poor diet 

Individuals with a poor diet high in saturated fats and low in antioxidants may also be at a higher risk. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration. 

Cardiovascular disease 

Conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease have been linked to an increased risk of macular degeneration. Protecting your heart health may also benefit your eye health. 

Sun exposure 

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun may contribute to the development of macular degeneration. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection and hats can help shield your eyes from harmful UV rays. 

Protecting your vision 

While you can’t change factors like your age or genetics, there are many ways you can lower your risk for AMD. Regular eye exams are crucial, especially after 50 or if there’s a family history of AMD. It’s also important to maintain a balanced diet, exercise, and avoid smoking to support eye health. Additionally, make sure to wear sunglasses outdoors and use protective gear in hazardous environments. 

At Baymeadows Vision Center, we are dedicated to helping our patients in Jacksonville, Florida, maintain their eye health and prevent conditions like macular degeneration. Our experienced optometrists use the latest technology to provide comprehensive eye exams and personalized care plans. If you are diagnosed with macular degeneration, we can provide treatment options to slow its progression. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about how we can help you protect your eyes and maintain optimal eye health.