Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Macular Degeneration Health Center

Font Size

Macular Degeneration: Preserving Eyesight


WebMD the Magazine - Feature

Q: My mother, 63, recently learned she has early signs of age-related macular degeneration. What can she do to preserve her eyesight? Would certain nutritional supplements help?

A: Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the most common of all retinal disorders (damage to the eye's retina) and the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in older adults.

Recommended Related to Macular Degeneration

Understanding Macular Degeneration -- Symptoms

Gradual dimming of central vision, especially while reading Distorted vision, straight lines that appear wavy Sudden loss of central vision

Read the Understanding Macular Degeneration -- Symptoms article > >

Researchers have identified both hereditary and environmental factors. Although you can't change your genes, you can help preserve your delicate retina if you stop smoking and reduce harmful UV ray exposure from sunlight by wearing protective eyewear.

Most vision loss from ARMD is the result of leakage from abnormal blood vessels that grow underneath the retina. Prompt treatment is essential, so tell your mother to test her vision regularly with the Amsler Grid, which she can get from her eye doctor. Have her tape the grid to the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator door, and notify her eye doctor immediately if she notices any changes in how well she sees the lines on the grid.

As for supplements, certain amounts of vitamins C and E, beta carotene, zinc, and copper reduced participants' risk of developing advanced ARMD by 25%, according to the National Eye Institute's Age-Related Eye Disease Study.

William Lloyd, MD, WebMD Vision Expert

 

Reviewed on January 01, 2007

Today on WebMD

What Is Macular Degeneration
Article
human eye
Article
 
What Someone With Macular Degeneration Sees
Tool
picture of the eyes
Image Collection
 

eye exam
Article
Treatments For Macular Degeneration
Article
 
the aging eye
Video
senior woman wearing glasses
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections