5 ways to help prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Hero Image More than blurry vision

The risk of developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration is significant for an aging population and workforce. AMD is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment in the world, affecting nearly 20 million Americans.1

Thankfully, there are proactive lifestyle changes and simple steps that can help prevent this thief of sight. (Hint: it starts with an eye exam.)

What AMD “looks” like

As Age-Related Macular Degeneration advances, patients tend to notice a blurred area near the center of their vision. In time, the blurred area can increase, or patients can experience blank spots in their central vision. Some objects also might appear less bright. Though AMD doesn’t cause total blindness, the impaired vision can make it difficult to perform basic daily tasks such as driving, reading, writing, doing close-up work or even recognizing faces.2

There is no cure for Age-Related Macular Degeneration, but here are 5 ways that eye health experts say can reduce the risk of developing AMD.

1. Visit your eye doctor

The early and intermediate stages of Age-Related Macular Degeneration do not exhibit symptoms, so the only way to detect it is through a dilated eye exam. Detecting AMD earlier means more time and opportunity to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that may slow the disease.

For late-stage AMD, the FDA has also approved intravitreal injections to help reverse vision loss. Treatment within 7 weeks of diagnosis averages a 38% improvement within 6 months.4

2. Protect your eyes from the sun

Research shows that exposure to ultraviolet light can cause retinal damage, accelerate the progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration and contribute to the formation of cataracts. To reduce risk and keep eyes safe, wear sunglasses with a UV rating of at least 400.5

3. Quit smoking

The various health risks associated with smoking is common knowledge. But did you know that smoking can double the risk of developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration? And if you’re already a smoker, quitting can lower your risk of both AMD and cataracts.6

4. Stay active

Exercise could be as beneficial for the eyes as it is for muscles. Several studies show a link between staying active and prevention of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. A recent study in mice also suggests that consistent exercise protects against an overgrowth of blood vessels that occurs in eye conditions like AMD.7

5. Eat healthy

Diets chocked-full of omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, have been linked to a lower risk of AMD. Researchers also recommend eating fresh fruits and dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. While you can purchase antioxidant supplements, they’re more effective when consumed organically in whole foods.8

What employers can do

As a caring employer, you can help your workforce by sharing these ways to prevent AMD. While AMD is often associated with aging, younger workers will also find this information helpful as they care for aging parents and grandparents.

It’s also essential for employees of all ages to schedule an annual eye exam and begin routinely taking care of their eyes, as genetics play a strong role in AMD.9  

Ready to learn more? Speak with your EyeMed representative or visit eyemed.com.


1 “Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Facts & Figures”; BrightFocus Foundation; brightfocus.org; March 7, 2023. 

2 “Macular Degeneration”; Cleveland Clinic; clevelandclinic.org; February 14, 2023. 

3 Ibid

4 Bailey, E., Myers, S.; “Age-related macular degeneration expected to affect 288 million people by 2040”; Medical News Today; medicalnewstoday.com; January 11, 2024. 

5 Myhre, J., Sifris, D.; “How to Prevent Macular Degeneration”; Verywell Health; verywellhealth.com; July 20, 2022.  

6 “Vision Loss, Blindness, and Smoking”; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; cdc.gov; October 13, 2023. 

7 Mukamal, R.; “Could Exercise Help Prevent Eye Damage?”; American Academy of Ophthalmology; aao.org; July 13, 2023. 

8 “Diet and Nutrition”; American Academy of Ophthalmology; aao.org; April 6, 2023.  

9 Ellis, R., Seltman, W., OD; “Is Macular Degeneration Hereditary?”; WebMD; webmd.com; September 16, 2022. 

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