Macular Degeneration: Am I at Risk?

It is easy to get caught up in all the unknowns of the world. But I was reminded how lucky I am during a recent visit to see my Grandma. My Grandma suffers from Macular Degeneration- a disease to which there is no cure and leads to blindness. What started as a dark spot in her vision back when I was in college, has turned into an 80% reduction in her eyesight.

The idea of slowly losing my ability to see my loved ones is anxiety provoking. It also got me wondering about my risk for Macular Degeneration and what I can do to preserve my vision.

Grandma wearing blue light glasses to decrease her symptoms. What's your Macular Degeneration risk?
That’s me with my Grandma and Aunts right after she was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. Her doctor recommended she wear those OG blue light glasses to protect her eyes from further damage.

Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration

According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF), the risk factorsleading to Macular Degeneration are believed to be genetic, race, habit, and environment related. More specifically, those with a family history of the disease, Caucasians, people who smoke and people with a higher exposure to harmful rays (such as UV and blue light) are at an increased risk for developing the disease.

There isn’t anything that can be done about my race or genetic history. However, I find the last risk factor (increased exposure to UV and blue light) to be alarming.

Think about it- the majority of those diagnosed with Macular Degeneration are over age 50. This means the majority of those diagnosed today did not spend the better part of their life in front of a digital screen. But what about millennials? For those of us born in the digital age, exposure to blue light from screens is drastically higher than those in the 50+ generations.

In fact, for many of us, the majority of our time is spent working in front of a screen- not to mention the time spent scrolling through our phone and binge watching romcoms. So what, are we all at risk of losing our vision?

Well, no. But overexposure to blue light does put us at some increased health risks including Digital Eye Strain and Macular Degeneration. Thankfully there are some habits we can create today to help maintain our eye health over time.

Practice healthy habits to maintain eye health and reduce risk for Macular Degeneration

Healthy Habits To Maintain Eye Health

First, remember the basics. Eating lots of fruits and veggies is a cheap insurance policy. Focus on getting your daily dose of vitamin A, lutein and beta carotene to start. Not sure which foods are best for your eyes? Add green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, as well as carrots and sweet potatoes to your meals. Checkout this article on the 7 Best Foods for Your Eyes by CookingLight for more food and recipe ideas.

Next, give your eyes a break. Following the 20-20-20 rule is a good place to start. The rule says that for every 20 minutes you look at a screen, take 20 seconds to look 20 feet into the distance. If you practice this regularly, your eyes should feel a little less fatigued at the end of the day. Of course, taking a solid break from screens altogether will give you the most benefit.

Last, gear up with some blue light glasses. Just as construction workers wear helmets to protect their head, you should be using glasses to protect your eyes. Did you notice the picture of my Grandma visiting me in college? Did you see what she’s wearing? Yep, those are OG blue light glasses, suggested by the doctor treating her for Macular Degeneration! You can easily add the blue light glasses at Legacy Supply to your routine. They have less color distortion, are FDA approved and are satisfaction guaranteed!

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