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Age-related maculopathy: looking towards the future

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Taking a second look at the health of your eyes can sometimes be beneficial. Because age-related maculopathy (ARM) is an eye condition that can seriously affect your vision, learn how to take care of your eyes… they cannot be replaced.

dégénérescence maculaire

What is age-related maculopathy (ARM)?

Most of us don’t always take the time to appreciate the fact that we can see. Have you ever been dazzled by a child’s smile? Do you take the time to marvel at breathtaking landscapes? Have you ever truly grasped the importance of sight in your daily life? Thanks to your eyes, you can take the time today to read this health file and learn about ARM to be better able to prevent it.

Sight is kind of like a movie. For someone who suffers from ARM, the “screen” on which images are projected, which is called retina, has deteriorated over time. The macula is a spot on the retina that we need to look straight ahead; ARM affects it and jeopardizes the central vision of the affected individual.

Who can get ARM?

As its name indicates, age-related maculopathy is an eye disease that can be caused by aging. You are more likely to develop ARM if a member of your family has had it, if you are Caucasian or if you are a woman. Other risk factors for ARM are:

  • smoking;
  • prolonged exposure to the sun;
  • high blood pressure;
  • a diet that is poor in antioxidant vitamins and minerals.

Symptoms of ARM

ARM is a disease that, most of the time, appears gradually and progresses from early stage to advanced stage. There are different types of ARM, and symptoms of the disease vary from one person to another. In general, the disease starts with blurred central vision, along with a growing central black spot. Other symptoms include:

  • loss of ability to distinguish colour contrasts;
  • distorted vision; images that fade or blend together;
  • near and distance vision is blurry and out of focus.

If you think you may have ARM, it is important to consult an eye-care specialist who can diagnose it.

Treating ARM

Because loss of vision due to ARM cannot be reversed, it is vital to embrace a healthy daily lifestyle so that you can protect your eyes’ health. In addition, there are some over-the-counter supplements of antioxidant vitamins and minerals that can delay the progression of ARM. Discuss it with your eye-care specialist or with your pharmacist. But be careful; the formulation you choose depends in part on whether you smoke or not, or whether you once smoked in your lifetime. It is therefore important to mention your smoking habits to your health professional.

The choice of medical treatments for ARM is very limited and depends on the type of ARM you have. Your eye-care specialist can give you more information on the different types of treatments available, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

How to prevent ARM

Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to prevent ARM and its progression. Here are some examples:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Protect your eyes against the sun.
  • Eat healthy and increase your intake of foods that are high in antioxidants and omega-3. Eat more dark-green vegetables.
  • Make sure that your blood pressure is normal.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take a supplement of vitamins and minerals, as per the recommendations of your pharmacist or doctor.
  • Consult your eye-care specialist as often as recommended for a complete check-up.

For many people, it can be difficult to adapt to the new reality of a major loss of vision. As is the case with many other diseases, adopting preventative measures can allow you to limit the consequences of ARM on your health and quality of life. Ask your pharmacist to provide you with information on products that are sold over the counter to prevent or slow down ARM, such as vitamin and mineral supplements and omega-3.

 

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