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How to Keep Age-Related Macular Degeneration at Bay

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) remains the leading cause of poor vision in seniors. As deposits develop on the macula or blood vessels block signals to the macula, the central field of vision diminishes. As the disorder progresses, older adults lose the ability to read, drive, or engage in other activities requiring a full field of vision. While not reversible, there are ways older adults can reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.

Quit Smoking

Researchers at the University of Manchester report smokers are two to four times more likely to develop AMD compared to nonsmokers. The chemicals in tobacco products have several negative effects on the blood vessels throughout the body, including the eyes.

Older adults who quit smoking put themselves on the path to healthier living. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Temple home care. Services our caregivers provide include transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

Follow a Healthy Diet

Dark, leafy green vegetables are rich in compounds called carotenoids, which reduce the risk of AMD. Red, blue, and purple fruits contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that also interfere with the progression of macular degeneration in early and intermediate cases. The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish have also been shown to reduce the risk of AMD. The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary found that older adults who eat fish two or more times weekly were 45 percent less likely to develop AMD than seniors who consumed fish one time or less per week.

Take Multivitamin Supplements

Seniors might consider taking supplements if they are not getting sufficient nutrients in their daily diet. While there are many types of vitamin and mineral supplements available for older adults, some feature the nutrients that support eye health. The recommended supplement should include:

  • Beta-carotene – 15 milligrams
  • Copper – 2 milligrams in the form of cupric oxide
  • Vitamin C – 500 milligrams
  • Vitamin E – 400 International units
  • Zinc – 80 milligrams in the form of zinc oxide

Seniors should check with their doctors before taking any supplements. If your loved one needs a caregiver to drive and accompany him or her to the clinic, contact Home Care Assistance. In Temple, Texas, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family.

Exercise

A study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology explained how researchers studied 4,000 people for 15 years who were between the ages of 43 and 86. The group found that individuals who exercised for 30 minutes three times each week were 70 percent less likely to have AMD.

Regulate Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

According to the Framingham Eye Study and the Beaver Dam Eye Study, scientists found a connection between uncontrolled high blood pressure and the development of macular degeneration. High cholesterol causes fatty deposits in the blood vessels, which inhibits blood flow and can affect the eye vessels.

Wear Sunglasses with Blue Light and UV Protection

Ongoing exposure to blue light or ultraviolet light from sunlight contributes to the progressive damage caused by AMD. Similarly, seniors who do not consume enough antioxidants and are exposing their eyes to direct sunlight are four times more likely to develop advanced cases of macular degeneration.

Get Regular Eye Exams

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults under the age of 60 should have an eye exam every two to three years. Once seniors reach the age of 60, they should have an eye exam annually. Early AMD detection and treatment prevents progression of the disorder.

Eye health is just one aspect of overall wellbeing. If your aging loved one needs help maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, consider hiring a live-in caregiver. For many seniors in Temple, Texas, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness. To learn about our revolutionary senior care plans and how they can benefit your loved one, give us a call at 254-856-0600 today.