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Can the Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Be Reduced?

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a condition that leads to the deterioration of the center of the retina, which results in the loss of central vision.

Though ARMD prevention may not always be possible, Warren senior care experts recommend these strategies to help your senior loved one reduce the risk of developing the disease.

No Smoking

If your loved one smokes, the most important step in reducing the risk of ARMD is to convince him or her to stop. Cigarette smoke contains oxidants that can damage the retina, and studies show smokers are 4 times more likely to develop ARMD than nonsmokers. The smoke also triggers an immune response that can cause inflammation in cells throughout the body, including the eyes.

Regular Eye Exams

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends people get dilated eye exams every 2 to 3 years up to age 60. People over age 60 should see their eye care professional annually. Your loved one may require more frequent exams if he or she has other health conditions such as diabetes.


Fish oil and eye health supplements such as Ocuvite and Centrum Silver contain omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, and antioxidants that have been shown to slow or prevent the development of ARMD. Of course, you should consult a doctor before encouraging your loved one to take supplements to ensure they are appropriate based on his or her health history.

Healthy Weight

Encouraging your loved one to exercise and maintain a healthy weight can reduce his or her risk of ARMD by as much as 70 percent. This is because active individuals are less likely to have high cholesterol and other health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which can affect nerves and blood vessels in the body and eyes.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association show individuals who consume a diet high in green leafy vegetables can reduce their risk of ARMD by 43 percent. Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collards are high in carotenoids that are beneficial to eye health. Seniors on blood thinners should talk to their doctors before eating dark green vegetables since these foods may impact the effectiveness of their medications.

Whether you’re concerned about your senior loved one’s eye health or want to encourage a healthier lifestyle in general, Home Care Assistance can help. Our Warren part-time caregivers can provide transportation for your loved one, assist with exercise, prepare healthy meals, and help with many other daily tasks. We also offer 24-hour care for seniors who need more extensive assistance. For more information on our senior care services, call a Care Manager at 908.450.9400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.