Macular degeneration is an incurable eye condition that causes progressive loss of vision. Usually appearing in older adults, it involves the breakdown of the light-sensitive tissue in the macula -- the part of the eye that collects image information and relays it to the brain. Though there are medications to slow down the disease's progression, vision loss that occurs cannot be restored.

Unfortunately, some of the risk factors for macular degeneration, such as having a genetic history of the condition and being of Caucasian descent, are not things you can change. However, there are other risk factors of macular degeneration that you can control in order to reduce your risk of this incurable condition.


Smoking is said to double your risk of developing macular degeneration. If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. If you have unsuccessfully tried quitting in the past, try a different method this time. Many patients find that attending support groups and using nicotine gum are helpful. You can also talk to your doctor about prescription medications that can help you quit.

Consuming Trans Fats

Recent studies indicate that eating a lot of trans fats increases your risk of developing macular degeneration. Trans fats are frequently found in heavily processed foods like cookies and frozen meals. Read nutrition labels carefully, and steer clear of any foods that contain trans fats. Concentrate on those instead eating more unsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, as this may reduce your risk of macular degeneration.

Sunlight Exposure

Exposing your eyes to sunlight increases your risk of macular degeneration. Make sure you wear quality, UV-blocking sun glasses whenever you go you go out on a sunny day. Keep an extra pair in your car so you don't get caught without them. You can also wear a brimmed hat to keep the sunlight out of your eyes when working in the yard or walking around your neighborhood.


Those who are obese are more likely to develop macular degeneration. It is thought that obesity leads to increased inflammation, and that the inflammation contributes to the development of the condition. If you are at a healthy body weight, keeping your weight under control will help keep your risk of macular degeneration low. If you are overweight, work to reduce your weight through healthy diet and exercise. Work with a dietitian to determine the best eating plan for your personal needs, and work on getting more exercise. Even a few extra minutes or walking or stretching each day can help.

To learn more, contact a clinic like New Vision Eye Center