Has your eye doctor just diagnosed you with macular degeneration? If so, it can be a stressful time when you’re unsure of what to expect and don’t fully understand what it means. To help you sort the facts from fiction, here are some of the most common myths about macular degeneration to help keep you better informed.

You Can’t Do Anything to Help It

One of the main myths surrounding macular degeneration is that once you’re diagnosed with it, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But that isn’t necessarily true. Even without a known cure, there are still some ways to maintain the health and vision of your eyes while slowing the advancement of AMD. The first step you can take is to quit smoking if you haven’t already. Smoking can exacerbate this disease and cause more damage. The second is to consider taking supplements. Certain vitamins and minerals can have a positive impact by delaying the progression. This includes zinc, vitamin C, E and D3, lutein and zeaxanthin. There’s also a variety of treatments and adaptive devices available today that can be beneficial to you.

You’ll End Up Completely Blind

This is another common myth about AMD. It is rare to go legally blind and lose all visual ability. Macular degeneration affects the central part of your vision, usually without impacting the peripheral and side vision. How the disease affects you will depend on the severity and progression of it. For those with more advanced stages, it can impact the ability to perform certain tasks such as reading, writing, and driving.

Catching It Early Will Help to Reverse It

Sadly, this isn’t the case with AMD. Once the disease has developed, catching it early won’t enable you to reverse the damage. As mentioned, you can most certainly adopt lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk and hinder the progression of macular degeneration. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and taking steps to lower blood pressure are all good habits to form. But unfortunately, they won’t restore your vision loss.

It’s Only a Risk if You Have a Family History

If you have a family history of macular degeneration, this can increase your chances of getting it. However, you can also get it without having any history of it. There are many lifestyle habits that can heighten the risk of developing the disease, including smoking, eating lots of saturated fats, having high blood pressure, and being overweight.

Losing Vision Is a Natural Part of Aging

As we age, it is natural for our vision to gradually change and weaken over time. And our inability to see certain things clearly isn’t always a cause of concern. But serious changes and loss of vision that are more significant are not part of the normal aging process. 

I Would Notice the Disease Right Away

As macular degeneration first develops, you won’t really notice it. It is asymptomatic at the beginning, which allows it to go undetected for a while. So you can very well have it without knowing it or noticing any changes to your vision right away. Only your doctor will be able to recognize the signs, even in those early stages without any symptoms. 

Since many eye conditions and diseases can develop without noticeable symptoms, it’s important to have regular eye examinations so an optometrist can screen for any potential red flags. If you’re concerned at all about your vision, schedule an eye examination at Laurier Optical. If you have any questions or concerns about macular degeneration, our onsite optometrist will be glad to answer them.