Living with AMD
People with age-related macular degeneration can make the most of their remaining vision with special training and technologies. Ask for a referral to a low-vision specialist for instruction on how to compensate for the vision that is lost. Many community organizations and agencies offer information and services such as:
- Training on new ways of doing things
- Low-vision adaptive devices such as hand or stand magnifiers, magnifying spectacles, video magnifiers, screen readers, and special computer programs and equipment
- Large-print books or audiobooks
- Home modifications, including improved lighting
- Alternate transportation when it is unsafe to drive
- Support groups where people with low vision can exchange ideas and share experiences
- Information about new research on treatments and vision-enhancement devices
The National Eye Institute also reminds seniors: “If you have lost some sight from AMD, don’t be afraid to use your eyes for reading, watching TV and other routine activities. Normal use of your eyes will not cause further damage to your vision.”
Can AMD be cured or treated?
Treatment for wet AMD consists of laser surgery; slowing or stopping the leaking of blood vessels by means of injections; or photodynamic therapy, a procedure that uses a combination of light and drugs. The National Eye Institute says that these treatments can help slow down vision loss and in some cases improve sight. But none of these treatments are a cure for the disease, and vision loss may continue despite treatment.
There is no treatment to reverse dry AMD. The goal, instead, is to prevent the condition from progressing to a more advanced stage. Certain lifestyle changes may prevent or delay further vision loss. These include having an annual eye exam, managing high blood pressure and cholesterol, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke.
Nutrition is especially important. According to Prevent Blindness America, a wide variety of foods, including lentils, grapes, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, kale, certain kinds of fish, turkey and some kinds of nuts, have been shown to aid eye health. Foods that contain refined starches and are high in sugar can be damaging to vision.
What about vitamins?
As reported in the October 2010 issue of Caring Right at Home, the National Eye Institute has conducted a series of important studies on the effect of nutrition on AMD. Certain nutrients were found to be protective against the development and progression of AMD, including vitamins A, C and E; zinc; lutein; zeaxanthin; and certain omega-3 fatty acids. It is a challenge to get the levels of these nutrients from diet alone. Ask your eye doctor whether you should take supplements containing these nutrients. (Be sure to tell your other healthcare providers that you are taking these vitamins; if you are already taking a multivitamin, the formula may need to be changed to avoid a higher-than-recommended dose of certain vitamins.)
Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today! If you live in Franklin or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.