Age-related macular degeneration is one of the most common causes for loss of vision. Approximately 2.5 percent of white Americans at least 50 years old–and about 14 percent of white Americans at least 80 years old–suffer from this condition, which destroys the part of the eye responsible for central vision. Certain steps may help limit a person’s risk of developing AMD or slow down its progression, including using some type of blue light protection.
Blue Light and AMD
Blue light isn’t all bad — it helps to set your sleep-wake cycle, makes you more alert, and improves your memory and cognitive function. This means you don’t want to eliminate all of your blue light exposure from the sun, LED and fluorescent lighting, and the screens of electronic devices. However, too much blue light exposure can increase your risk of AMD because the eye isn’t very good at blocking out this type of ultraviolet light. It can also make digital eye strain more likely.
Limiting Blue Light
You can purchase blue light protection, through a place like Macuhealth, in a number of different forms. These include blue light filters you can add to your digital devices, computer glasses to help with blue light protection from computer screens, and sunglasses to limit exposure to this type of light from the sun. Look for sunglasses that are labeled UV 400, as these will block out the blue light. Using blue light protection is particularly important for people who work outside or in a location with bright fluorescent lights, those who spend all day in front of a computer, and those who take medications that make them more sensitive to light. This includes some diabetes medications, certain blood pressure medications, and even some antibiotics and contraceptives.
Other Beneficial Treatments
People who are at a higher risk for AMD and those beginning treatment for macular degeneration are sometimes advised to take certain vitamins that may help with this condition. The eye vitamins for macular degeneration include omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and vitamins C, D3 and E. Supplements for this purpose are often labeled as being AREDS supplements. This means they have been formulated based on the results of these trials for treating AMD. Once AMD gets to the advanced stages, treatment may involve injections into the eyes, photodynamic treatment using lasers to slow vision loss or laser surgery. However, laser surgery isn’t very common, as it only works in certain situations and may cause blind spots.