What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is an eye disorder that results in damaged sharp and central vision, and according to the American Optometric Association it affects an estimated 1.8 million Americans 40 years and older. Macular degeneration is largely associated with aging, but in the modern world of electronic devices, all ages should be aware of the eye disorder. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in adults and the effects are permanent. The good news is you can reduce the risk with a few changes in your daily behaviors. Also, you can use the self-test at the end of this article to check if you’re at risk.
Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration:
- 40+ years old
- Family history
- Current or prior smoker
- Cardiovascular disease
- Low macular pigment
- Sun exposure
- Drusen (tiny yellow or white deposits under the retina identified by your eye doctor)
(What your VSP doctor sees when detecting macular degeneration.)
How Can You Prevent Macular Degeneration?
Current technology can detect your risk of developing macular degeneration years before it develops. Ask your VSP® network doctor to measure your macular pigment, as you are much more likely to develop macular degeneration if you have low macular pigment.
In the meantime, an easy change you can make is to adjust your diet. In fact, macular pigment is often controlled through diet, so don’t forget to eat your vegetables, because they may save your sight. Certain nutrients directly impact macular health.
Another preventative measure is to control the amount of “blue light” you’re taking in from electronic devices like smartphones and computers. Some anti-glare lens coatings include filtering to reduce blue-light intake. A vision plan can help you save money on such coatings. If you don’t have access to vision coverage through an employer or group, you can buy coverage on your own from VSP Individual Vision Plans.
Test your eyes in 90 seconds.
There’s a grid you can use to detect possible signs of macular degeneration. Print it out here and follow these steps:
- Close one eye
- Focus on the dot in the center
- Switch eyes
If you notice blurry/wavy lines or dark/blank spots, let your eye doctor know as soon as possible. And, if you need to see an eye doctor, but don’t have vision insurance, VSP Individual Vision Plans offer comprehensive vision insurance starting as low as $13 a month* Enrollment is open year-round, and you can choose a future effective date that works with your schedule. Sign up online or by phone today to get the same quality vision coverage offered by employers.
*Plans have exclusions and limitations. For complete details of the coverage please visit VSPDirect.com.