February is AMD and Low Vision Awareness month. AMD, specifically age-related macular degeneration, is the leading cause of low vision in people over the age of 60. This eye disease happens when the macula, a part of the retina, becomes damaged, resulting in blurred, diminished central vision. The causes for AMD are typically genetics and environmental factors that include smoking, obesity and diet.
This degenerative condition affects millions of people’s eyesight every year. Although people rarely go blind with AMD, it is a condition that can impact an individual’s independence, affecting daily activities such as driving, doing close-up work like cooking or fixing things around the house. Through a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor can detect AMD and prescribe treatments that can slow its progression.
There are no cures for age-related macular degeneration, but there are ways to help slow or prevent it. Here’s what you should know:
Quit Smoking - smoking is bad for you for many reasons, and AMD is one of them.
Eat your greens – include more broccoli, spinach, kale and Swiss chard in your diet. Your eyes will benefit from these leafy greens.
Wear good quality sunglasses – protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays to help reduce your chance of developing AMD.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle – eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, manage your weight and have regular follow-ups with your family doctor if you suffer from hypertension.
Know your family history – people with AMD in their family are at higher risk of getting it.
See your optometrist – your optometrist can verify how well you see and detect diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.
In Canada, we are fortunate to have easy access to eye doctors who can help us identify and monitor eye disease and provide the best treatment. In many parts of the world, vision care is not available, and vision loss has a terrible impact on a person’s ability to survive. This is why IRIS is proud to partner with IRIS Mundial, a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the visual health of disadvantaged populations in developing countries.
February is IRIS Mundial month, and your opportunity to support this wonderful program.
During the month of February, when you purchase a pair of glasses at IRIS, $10 will be contributed to IRIS Mundial. You can also donate your old glasses! Used eyewear is cleaned and catalogued so it can be given to a patient during a Mundial vision mission.