It’s well known that obesity is a risk factor for developing serious health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Now researchers are studying whether being obese raises the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — a leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 60.
What’s Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
AMD is a progressive eye disease that damages the center of the retina, called the macula. The macula is responsible for the central vision that focuses on detail. As it deteriorates, patients may notice blurry or dark spots in their central visual field. This can make it difficult to read, drive and recognize faces.
Other symptoms of AMD are distorted vision, difficulty adjusting from bright settings to dim ones, and colors appearing dull.
There are two forms of the disease: wet and dry.
Dry AMD is much more common and less severe than wet AMD, which usually sets in quickly and progresses more aggressively. Both forms can lead to legal blindness, but treatments can help slow their progression and minimize vision loss.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with AMD or experience any of the above symptoms, call Wesson and Mothershed Eye Center and ask how we can help preserve your vision.
Does Obesity Affect AMD?
Researchers are investigating whether there is a link between obesity and AMD.
Some studies suggest that people with a BMI over 30 have double the risk of developing age-related macular degeration than those with a lower BMI.
However, a study published in the journal Retina found that obesity was a predictor for the development of late-stage AMD. In simpler terms, being obese accelerated AMD progression in those who had it or were at a higher risk of developing this serious eye disease.
Another study, published in BMC Ophthalmology, supports these findings. Obesity was found to be a significant factor in the development of late-stage AMD, but this study also showed that age, smoking, and a family history of AMD are higher predictive factors.
What’s the Bottom Line?
These studies indicate that maintaining a healthy weight may lower the risk of late-stage AMD.
To reduce your risk of developing AMD, or to slow its progression, we recommend you quit smoking, eat more leafy greens and ask your eye doctor about the potential benefits of taking a supplement called AREDS 2.
If you or a loved one has received a macular degeneration diagnosis, it can be scary — but we are here for you. Our team of highly trained eye doctors can provide you with cutting-edge treatments in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Whether it’s AMD or any other eye health problem, Wesson and Mothershed Eye Center can help. Call today to schedule your consultation.
Wesson and Mothershed Eye Center serves patients from Tupelo, New Albany, Saltillo, Fulton, and throughout Mississippi.
Q: #1: What treatments are available for AMD?
- A: Although there isn’t yet a cure for AMD, treatments can help slow it down and even reverse eye damage. Treatment include eye injections, laser therapy, and vitamins. Your eye doctor will determine which treatment option is right for you.
Q: #2: How common is age-related macular degeneration?
- A: Unfortunately, AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60, affecting about 196 million people around the world. That number is expected to double, to over 400 million people by the year 2050. AMD is a leading cause of permanent vision loss and blindness across the globe.