The Virginia Retina Center

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ARMD Preventative Factors

Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD):

Modifiable Factors that may Decrease the Risk of Progression to Advanced Forms of ARMD

· Smoking

  • Smoking can increase risk of ARMD by as much as 2.4X

· Diet

  • Increasing the consumption of foods rich in certaincarotenoids, in particular dark green, leafy vegetables, may decrease the risk of progression
  • Increased intake of breads & cereals (e.g. Oatmeal, whole meal/grain breads) may lower risk of early ARMD
  • Higher total fat intake increases the risk of progression to the advanced forms of ARMD
  • Higher red meat  intake may increase the risk of progression to the advanced forms of ARMD
  • Higher fish intake (at least 2x per week ) has been associated with as much as a 50% lower risk of ARMD progression
  • Higher intake of nuts can reduce the risk of ARMD progression
  • Daily serving of fruits or vegetables that are yellow/orange in color reduce risk
  • Heavy alcohol consumption (more than three standard drinks per day) maybe associated with an increased risk of early age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)

· Vitamins & Supplements

  • AREDS 2 supplements: lowers the risk by about 25- 35%
  • § Vitamin E 400 IU
  • § Vitamin C 500 mg
  • § Zinc 25 mg (Caution in men with prostatesymptoms)
  • § Copper 2 mg
  • A high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with a 38 % reduction in the risk of late ARMD
  • The largest and most recent study (AREDS 2 Study) however, showed no benefit of omega-3 fatty acids in reducing the risk of late ARMD
  • Higher intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) &eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may significantly reduce the risk of advanced AMD
  • Higher intake of DHA & EPA however was shown by  theAREDS 2 Study to be of no benefit in reducing the risk of late ARMD
  • Daily intake of Vitamin D may be protective against ARMD, especially in women; reducing risk of ARMD by up to 50%
  • Daily intake of Vitamin B6 (50 mg), Folic acid (2.5 mg) & Vitamin B12 (1 mg) may be protective against ARMD, especially in women; reducing risk of ARMD by up to 30%
  • Lutein & zeaxanthin supplementation has also been shown to reduce risk of progression by up to 50% and may partially reverse the loss of visual function in early ARMD patients.

· Aspirin

  • Regular consumption of Aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may decrease the risk of progression
  • Patients who take aspirin daily are possibly up to 2X more likely to have late stage macular degeneration than those who never take aspirin.

· Weight & Exercise

  • Overall and abdominal obesity increases the risk for progression to advanced ARMD
  • High blood pressure and elevated cholesterol increases the risk for progression to advanced ARMD
  • More physical activity tends to decrease risk.
  • lower incidence of ARMD in those who practice vigorous running

· Sunlight & Ultraviolet light

  • Several studies have shown that there are no deleterious effects of sunlight exposure in ARMD
  • Other studies have shown an association between other sunlight aggravated eye conditions and ARMD
  • The largest and most recent review of all the studies, does show an association between sunlight exposure as a risk factor for ARMD
  • Overall it is not a bad idea to wear UV absorbing sunglasses and hats in those individuals at risk for developing ARMD