Macular degeneration is an eye condition that can lead to blurry central vision. A person can make certain lifestyle changes, such as following an eye-healthy dietary plan, to help prevent it from developing.

Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a degenerative eye disease that affects the macula, which is part of the retina inside the eye.

The macula is responsible for the appearance of sharp, fine details of objects directly in front of a person. This is central vision. A person with AMD will typically experience blurry central vision, but their peripheral vision will remain the same.

To try to prevent or slow the condition from worsening, a person can attempt to make certain lifestyle choices, such as ensuring sufficient nutrition, exercising regularly, and protecting the eyes from radiation.

In this article, we discuss tips to help prevent AMD, how to test for the disease, possible causes, and more.

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AMD is an irreversible eye disease that typically gets worse over time. There are two types of AMD.

Dry AMD is more common and typically progresses slowly, while wet AMD is more advanced, typically progresses quickly, and can lead to a permanent loss of central vision.

AMD is currently the leading cause of vision loss in older adults in the United States.

There are several ways a person may help prevent AMD. These include:

  • following an eye-healthy eating plan that includes plenty of dark, leafy greens such as spinach, and fish that is high in omega-3 such as salmon
  • quitting smoking, if they smoke
  • attending regular appointments with the eye doctor and sharing any family history of vision problems
  • exercising regularly to help keep blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels
  • wearing a wide brimmed hat or sunglasses to protect the eyes from damage caused by ultraviolet A and B radiation
  • taking dietary supplements such as AREDS 2 to make sure a person gets all the vitamins and minerals that may help prevent AMD from developing or worsen
  • taking medications, such as anti-VEGF treatments, to help prevent AMD from progressing further if a person does develop the disease

It is important to treat AMD as early as possible to try and prevent the disease from progressing further. The first stages of AMD do not always display any symptoms, so it is important for a person to go for regular eye tests.

Attending regular appointments with an eye doctor is the best way for a person to notice any changes. An eye doctor may perform a dilated eye exam. During a dilated eye exam, a doctor will give a person eye drops to dilate the pupils before examining them.

A doctor may also suggest that a person has an optical coherence tomography (OCT) test. To perform an OCT test, a doctor will use a specialized machine to take pictures of the inside of the eye.

A person can monitor their eyes at home using an Amsler grid. An Amsler grid is a square that contains a grid pattern with a dot in the center.

If a person notices any distorted lines or blurring squares on the Amsler grid, it may indicate visual problems. A person can perform this test quickly and easily, and a doctor may encourage people to use the Amsler grid at least once a week to check their eyesight.

While distortion on an Amsler grid can indicate AMD, it can also indicate any condition affecting the macula.

Read on to learn more about testing for macular degeneration.

The direct cause of AMD is unknown. However, AMD is a progressive disease that gets worse over time and typically affects people over age 55.

Several other risk factors of developing AMD can include:

Symptoms of AMD can vary depending on the stage of the disease. Dry AMD typically progresses in three stages: early, intermediate, and late.

Early dry AMD does not typically present any symptoms. Therefore, attending regular eye appointments or using an Amsler grid is important, especially if a person is at an increased risk.

Intermediate dry AMD may also not present any symptoms. However, a person may experience mild symptoms, including difficulty seeing in low light conditions and some blurriness when looking at objects directly in front of them.

In late wet or dry AMD, a person may notice straight lines appear to be wavy or curvy. This is a warning sign of late AMD, and a person should contact a doctor straight away.

Some other symptoms of late AMD can include:

  • blurring of central vision, which may get worse over time
  • blank spots
  • colors appearing duller than usual
  • difficulty seeing clearly in low lighting

Read on to learn more about potential signs of macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration, or AMD, is a degenerative eye disease that can affect central vision. AMD is currently irreversible. However, there are several ways a person can help prevent or slow AMD progression.

Some of these can include following an eye-healthy dietary plan, exercising regularly, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels, and avoiding smoking.

Certain factors such as family history of AMD, eating a diet high in saturated fats, and having high blood pressure may put a person more at risk of developing AMD. It is important that a person visit their eye doctor for regular appointments, particularly if they are at risk. A person can also use home tests such as the Amsler grid.

The early stages of AMD typically do not present any symptoms. However, a person should contact a doctor immediately if their central vision becomes blurry or straight lines appear to be curvy or wavy.