Besides aging, the major cause of AMD, genetics plays a role, as does smoking, which can double your risk. AMD is more common in Caucasians than in African Americans and Hispanics. One study showed that, in a population of 6176 people in the US aged 45-85, the prevalence was: 2.4% in African Americans, 4.2% in Hispanics, 4.6% in Chinese and 5.4% in Caucasians.
Your eye doctor can perform a test called Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) to determine if you have AMD, and genetic tests can tell you if your family history disposes you to the disease.
You also can incorporate important ingredients called zeaxanthin and lutein into your diet to help support your macular pigment. These ingredients can be found in many leafy greens, oily fish and fruits, but you can get a significantly higher dose through natural lutein and zeaxanthin supplements.
“The dietary carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein protect the most important retinal real estate of the eye–-the macula–which allows us to see detail. It is therefore critical to maintain the quality and health of this area of retinal tissue in a modern society that depends upon using computer screens and driving automobiles, safely,” said Dr. Stuart Richer, OD, PhD
If you think you are at risk for macular degeneration, or might have the disease, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.