A woman with six arms shows how she manages her dry AMD.

6 Ways I Manage My Dry AMD

A recent poll on MacularDegeneration.net asked, "True or False: I've found a regimen that works for me with dry AMD." I wondered what a successful regimen for dry AMD would look like. How could I possibly know if it was working?

Six steps I take daily to manage my dry AMD

As I continued to ponder this, the answers gradually came into focus. I realized that, subconsciously, I took specific steps every day in an effort to try to slow the progression of my AMD. Here are 6 of those steps.

1. Supplements

I take AREDS2 supplements twice daily. In addition, I am currently taking turmeric 3 times daily. Supplements can have an impact on other medications and health conditions, so it’s always a good idea to discuss any changes or additions to your supplements regimen with your doctor before starting them.

2. The Amsler grid

Many of us with dry AMD are concerned about it becoming wet macular degeneration or progressing into the advanced stage, geographic atrophy (GA). Many people are also concerned about continued vision loss and vision changes.

A common tool for detecting changes in vision is the frequent use of the Amsler grid. Mine hangs front-and-center of my refrigerator. I know that any change should be reported to my retina specialist.

3. A healthy diet

The Mediterranean diet is often recommended for macular degeneration, and it involves limiting red meat, moderating dairy, limiting foods with added sugars, and increasing your intake of vegetables and whole grains. It can also include a higher intake of nuts and seeds, fish, and plant-based oils and fats.1

I eat a spinach salad several times each week. I love roasted vegetables cooked in the air fryer. I eat carrots and sweet potatoes often. I've also switched to olive or avocado oils. This style of diet also helps maintain a healthy heart and healthy eyes, which is important for people who have AMD or those looking to reduce their risk.1

4. Eye protection

Sun exposure is bad for our eyes and especially for AMD. I make sure I have sunglasses handy anytime I head out the door.

I prefer to wear the Cocoon brand fit-over sunglasses. They provide protection from the top and sides and come in a wide variety of tints and sizes.

5. Managing stress

High levels of stress can impact our energy levels, mental and physical well-being, and even the sometimes the severity of our symptoms.

Gardening is one of my favorite ways to manage stress. I am a voracious reader and find getting lost in a good book takes my mind off worrying. My faith is also a central part of my life. Prayer and meditation are both part of my daily life.

6. Exercise

Regular activity, along with other healthy lifestyle habits, benefits our overall health and may even help slow the progression of macular degeneration.

My goal is 30 minutes of daily activity. We live in the mountains of southeast Oklahoma, and I love walking outdoors. I count the time spent working in our flower gardens as part of my activity.

Quite often, my heart rate is higher during gardening than on my walk. I wear an Apple Watch that tracks all activity. I have a history of falls, and my watch will notify my family or 911 if I fall and can’t respond.

Is my regimen working?

That’s a hard question to answer. In spite of all my efforts, I have progressed through all the stages of dry AMD. I now have geographic atrophy, the advanced stage that may lead to loss of central vision.

It took almost 10 years to reach this stage, so perhaps my regimen did help. Whether my regimen is helping or not, I plan to continue.

What steps do you take daily to manage AMD?

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