Your eyes are a beautiful and vulnerable part of your body, responsible for so much of life as you know it. Many injuries and diseases can affect your vision, especially as you grow older. A common sight-stealing condition is called Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD. How can you take eye care measures now to protect yourself from AMD?

Age-related Macular Degeneration is a serious problem for aging people. The retina, or interior lining of the back of your eye, is responsible for receiving an image then transforming it into signals your brain can understand. The part of your retina that collects and processes the central image is called the macula. This macula may collect deposits over time, obscuring your sight and causing you to lose a portion of the images you see. AMD cannot be cured but you can take significant measures to prevent its onset.

1. Avoid Smoking

Smoking is just as bad in terms of eye care as it is on the rest of your body. Smokers expose themselves to two to three times the risk for AMD as their nonsmoking counterparts. Not only do smokers have a higher risk of AMD, but cataracts are more likely as well. Try your best to quit and contact your doctor for help if needed.

2. Eat Right & Exercise

Your lifestyle choices are very important to your eye care. Leafy green and brightly colored vegetables contain compounds called anti-oxidants, which ward off cell damage. Nuts and fruits and lean proteins should be part of your diet to promote eye health and help maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise will help your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and therefore your eye health.

4. Wear Sunglasses

No matter the time of year or the weather outside, if you are going out during the day, put on a pair of UV blocking sunglasses. UV rays cause extensive damage to your eyes, including AMD and cataracts.

5. Eye Exams

Above all, the most important action you can take to protect yourself against AMD is to see your eye care professional at least once a year. This helps the doctor identify the onset of dangerous eye conditions so they can be treated to prevent further progression.

Your vision is fragile, but you have control in preventing many common eye issues. Talk to your optometrist to discuss additional actions you can take to help your eye health.