Beyond Age – Know Your Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration

By 2050, the number of people with some type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is expected to double to 22 million. While age is a huge factor in this very common eye disease, several other factors can heighten your risks. To better understand how closely you need to monitor for macular degeneration in Austin, TX with your eye doctor, here is a closer look at the additional risks.

Smoking

Smokers may be between two and five times more likely to develop AMD. The retina uses a tremendous amount of oxygen to function, and smoking affects how much oxygen your body takes in.

Obesity

Higher BMIs (body mass indexes) over 30 can heighten the risks of AMD. You may be 2.5 times more likely to have AMD if you are overweight.

Family History

In general, people with relatives who had AMD are more likely to develop AMD themselves. However, the exact genetic link that causes AMD or acts as a contributing factor has not been clearly defined in medical research.

High Blood Pressure

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you have a higher chance of having AMD as well. Much like smoking, HBP changes oxygen flow through the body, which can affect the health of the retina.

Race

People who are Caucasian or have lighter skin tones tend to be more at risk of AMD. Researchers are not certain whether this risk comes along with a genetic factor or simply something to do with pigmentation.

Work with an Austin Optometrist to Monitor Your Visual Health

The biggest key to deterring the risks of progressive vision loss with macular degeneration is regular visits to your optometrist. The earlier the condition is caught, the more the eye doctor in Austin can recommend interventional measures to slow progression. If you would like to schedule an appointment to determine if you have macular degeneration, reach out to us at Northwest Hills Eye Care.