Is there anything I can do about dry macular degeneration?
Unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment for dry macular degeneration (AMD), but there are options available to help prevent the condition from getting worse.
Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease, and presents in 90 per cent of sufferers. The remaining 10 per cent of people have wet AMD, which is much faster acting and more serious. AMD affects central vision, so symptoms are likely to include difficulty reading and writing, trouble recognising people's faces and colours appearing less vibrant. There should be no impact on your peripheral vision, so it will not cause complete blindness regardless of how severely it progresses.
Dry AMD is gradual and usually takes many years before it becomes a serious problem. The condition can affect both eyes, but the speed at which it progresses may vary between each eye. You should attend eye tests at least once a year to see how quickly the condition is progressing, and evidence suggests that a diet rich in green leafy vegetables can help slow vision loss. This is because green vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which have been linked to maintaining eyesight.
In fact, good nutrition in general is recommended, especially foods high in vitamins A, C and E, such as tomatoes, carrots and oranges. A number of other preventative measures may also be helpful, including:
- Stopping smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weigh
- Moderating alcohol consumption
- Wearing glasses that protect against UV rays when outside
Once AMD has reached a certain stage, there are low-vision aids that will help tackle any deficiencies in your eyesight. Magnifying glasses and intensive reading lights should allow you to perform close, detailed work more easily. There are also books are available in larger prints if you are having difficulty reading.