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What Role Does Diet Play with Macular Degeneration?

Question: What should I be eating or not eating to hopefully slow the progression of AMD?

Answer: Research shows following a Mediterranean diet can be highly beneficial to those with AMD. The Mediterranean diet, if followed, can reduce development and progression to late AMD by as much as 41%! Following a Mediterranean diet can also be beneficial to our heart and brain.

The impact of diet for AMD

Question:Well, I already have AMD, so can a diet really help me now?

Answer: Yes! If we have early to intermediate AMD, it can help us keep what we have versus going into late-stage AMD. Another benefit is we will almost certainly lose weight and become more fit and healthy. Maybe we will be able to fit into those cool old jeans in the back of the closet again?

The Mediterranean diet

Question: So, tell me again what a Mediterranean Diet consists of?

Answer:The Mediterranean Diet consists of a good amount of vegetables, legumes, good grains, olive oil, and oily fish like salmon. The green leafy vegetables and the fish are very important. Also, avoiding excess amounts of highly processed refined foods and sugar are deemed important.

Diet changes are intimidating - believe me, I know

Question: OK, who is intimidated by revamping their own personal diet?

Answer: Well, I am seriously intimidated with the idea of changing up what and how I eat. We’re talking about me, a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal with 7 decades of bad habits... that’s who! I know it may sound like I’m kidding and I am... sort of. But with my central vision on the decline (I’ve had AMD, wet in one eye and dry in the other for 9 years now) I am ready to give myself the best chance of maintaining the vision I have!

Getting a macular degeneration diagnosis

9 years ago... Needing what I thought were new glasses, I went to my optometrist for a new pair of glasses. During the standard eye exam the optometrist discovered some shadowy areas in my macula. He referred me to an RS (retina specialist) for further testing. And that my friends, was when this wild ride began.

How did I feel being newly diagnosed, you ask?

Well, I guess you could say I experienced shock, fright and confusion. Much like all of you, when you guys found out. I remember the RS telling me that I would need injections for my wet eye! Holy mackerel (another good oily fish for our new diet ::smile::) he was going to stick a needle in my eyeball? On a regular basis? Oh my!

The many questions I had when newly diagnosed

Why us? I thought this kind of stuff only happened to the other guy!

When I remember back to my first few months after being diagnosed, I was struggling with many questions:

  • I have a disease that can’t be cured? (Later understanding that the current treatment is meant to hold our disease at bay, so to speak.)
  • Vitamins!!? This high powered doctor is telling me to take certain vitamins? (The AREDS 2 formula, we later found out). What happened to magical medicine from the all-knowing and all-seeing “super doc”? Vitamins! Sheesh!!!

Reasons for hope

Back to the present time, and the good news is we can improve our health through lifestyle changes, particularly a healthy diet and exercise. And these changes are good for other parts of our body besides our eyes. We are all rooting for the many clinical trials and studies that are ongoing for our shared plight. We have reason for hope and we also have each other to console, support, and learn from. I wish us all well on our health journey.

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