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Macular degeneration risk factors

Being aware of your macular degeneration risk factors is one of the best ways to help avoid or slow the progression of the disease. Most forms of macular degeneration occur in individuals over the age of 60, but some researchers believe that the presence of variant in two gene deficiencies called 'complement factor H (CFH)' and 'complement factor B' are associated with up to 74% of all potentially blinding cases of the disease. In addition to genetic deficiencies, research also suggests that macular degeneration risk factors are increased for Caucasians, those who have family members with the disease, and females.

Aside from heredity, there are many other macular degeneration risk factors that research has identified, including smoking, obesity, drug side effects, high blood pressure, and light skin and eye color.

Smoking: A British study of the disease directly linked smoking to roughly 25% of cases that caused severe vision loss. Another study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology in 2006 reported that macular degeneration risk factors are also doubled for people who live with smokers.

Obesity/Lack of Exercise: According to a study published in the June 2003 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, macular degeneration risk factors more than double for those who are overweight. To the contrary, macular degeneration risk factors significantly decrease for those who exercise or engage in vigorous activities at least three times per week.

Drug Side Effects: Some cases of macular degeneration have been associated with the side effects of toxic drugs including Aralen, an anti-malarial drug, and phenothiazine, a class of anti-psychotic drugs.

High Blood Pressure: A study conducted in The Netherlands that was published in September 2003 Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science reported that many individuals with high blood pressure or hypertension have increased macular degeneration risk factors.

Light Eye/Skin Color: Several studies have found that people who have light eye and skin color are more apt to get macular degeneration. The scientific theory is that the additional pigment found in darker eyes may help prevent the disease.

If you have any of these risk factors, you can begin preventative macular degeneration treatments that may help stop or slow the onslaught of the disease. If you have these risk factors and notice early macular degeneration symptoms like blurred central vision, you should visit your eye doctor immediately to undergo simple macular degeneration tests that can diagnose your condition. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your chances of slowing its progression and saving your eyesight.

Depending on the type of macular degeneration you have, which can be "wet" or "dry," the most common treatments include taking a special regimen of nutrients and vitamins, laser surgery, and low vision aids like magnifiers, reading glasses, telescopic glasses and electronic aids.

To learn more about your macular degeneration risk factors or macular degeneration treatments, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor today.







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