Reduce the risks of Macular Degeneration
Author: ANCP Date Posted:26 May 2016
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness and sight loss in Australia. It occurs when the macula (the central part of the retina) becomes damaged and is characterised by blurring or loss of vision in the centre of the visual field, rather than complete sight loss or impaired peripheral vision. AMD is a progressive condition that becomes more common with age and it has been estimated that one in seven Australians over the age of 50 years are affected to some degree.
Smoking drastically increases your risk of developing AMD and on average, smokers become affected by the disease at an earlier age. The links between smoking and AMD are believed to be due to factors such as the free radical damage and impaired circulation that are induced by smoking.
Having a high body mass index (BMI) or having abdominal obesity has been shown to increase the risk of developing AMD and this may be at least partially because, like smoking, being overweight is associated with increased levels of free radical activity. In contrast, regular participation in vigorous forms of exercise such as running may have a protective effect.
Eat a low-GI diet
The glycaemic index (GI) is a measure of how readily the carbohydrates we consume are converted into energy after we eat them. Research has shown that people whose diets have a high GI are more likely than people who consume a low-GI diet to develop AMD and may be more severely affected by it too. Eating a low-GI diet, on the other hand, may help reduce the chances that AMD will occur and could also delay progression from the early stages of the disease to the more severe advanced stages.