Protecting Yourself from Macular Degeneration

Four years ago, 81-year-old artist Rosemary Kohler was prepared to put down her paintbrush for good.

She recalls, "I felt as if I had lost at least 50 percent of my eyesight in about a month."

Eighty-five-year-old Joyce McMinn found herself unable to see the road.

She says, "It just seemed like it happened so fast."

Both women were diagnosed with macular degeneration - an eye disease that strips away your central vision.

Dr. Redmer van Leeuwen says there are no effective approved treatments for AMD. That's why the findings of his new study on preventing the disease are so exciting.

Dr. van Leeuwen explains, "Patients, who had a diet rich in vitamin E and zinc, had an almost 40 percent lower risk of getting the early signs of macular degeneration."

Vitamin E is found in high levels in vegetable oils, nuts and leafy green vegetables. Good sources of zinc are whole grain bread, eggs, dairy products and meat.

Other ways to reduce your risk? Wear sunglasses that block blue light, consume less packaged foods and don't smoke.

Dr. van Leeuwen adds, "So if you smoke, your risk of AMD is almost fourfold!"

An ounce of prevention seems to be just what the doctor ordered; especially, when there is no cure.

People with light skin and eyes are at the highest risk for developing macular degeneration.