Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration

Posted on Saturday, September 9th, 2017 by Dr. Binoy Jani

Risk factors for macular degenerationMacular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among Americans. The eye condition is characterized by the deterioration of the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for central vision. The macula deteriorates when the arteries that nourish the retina harden, causing the retinal tissues to weaken and vision to worsen.

Anyone can develop macular degeneration. However, there are a several factors that can heighten one’s risk. And while some risk factors are outside of our control (e.g., age, family history), there are other factors that are controllable. The Fredericksburg and Culpeper eye doctors and ophthalmologists at Vista Eye Specialists discuss some of these risk factors in this blog post.


Smoking is terrible for your eyes. Case in point: one study found that smokers were up to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers.


According to one study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, overweight patients with macular degeneration were twice as likely to develop advanced forms of macular degeneration as those with a normal body weight. The study also found that individuals who exercised at least three times a week had a lower risk of developing advanced macular degeneration than inactive individuals.

High Blood Pressure

People with high blood pressure (hypertension) have a heightened risk of developing macular degeneration. You can lower your blood pressure and thus lower your risk of macular degeneration by eating a healthy diet rich in eye-friendly nutrients and exercising regularly.

Sun Exposure

A growing body of research shows that unprotected sun exposure can damage the eyes and heighten the risk of developing various eye diseases, including macular degeneration. You can protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays by wearing wraparound sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection. And because the sun never rests, you should always wear sunglasses whenever outdoors, even during cloudy, overcast weather.

Keep Your Eyes Healthy with Vista Eye Specialists

Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, early diagnosis and treatment can slow down the progression of the disease and thus save your vision. Vista Eye Specialists offers comprehensive treatment for various eye diseases, including macular degeneration. If you have or suspect you have macular degeneration, schedule an eye exam with us. During your exam we will check for signs of disease and go over all of your risk factors. To schedule your eye exam, please contact our team by calling 1-888-EYE-JANI (1-888-393-5264) today.