Age-related macular degeneration occurs when aging causes damage to the macula, resulting in a loss of central vision. The macula is part of the retina, which is tissue located at the back of the eye. The macula controls your straight-ahead vision.
Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive disease which means that it will get worse over time. It is also a common condition and is one of the leading causes of vision loss in older adults.
Just because a condition is common doesn’t mean patients can’t take steps to reduce their risk of age-related macular degeneration. One of the best ways to protect your eye health is by making healthy choices. New research suggests that intermittent fasting (skipping meals) may reduce your risk for age-related macular degeneration. Here, the doctors at Mittleman Eye discuss the research and other healthy choices that patients can make to influence their eye health.
The study investigated the “association between intermittent fasting and age-related macular degeneration in the general older adult population.” Approximately 4,504 people aged 55 and older participated in the study.
The participants underwent comprehensive eye exams, provided blood samples and supplied data including information regarding meal frequency.
Those who reported consuming breakfast five to seven times per week were part of the non-fasting group. Those who reported regularly skipping breakfast were part of the intermittent fasting group.
The study found a lower prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in the intermittent fasting group compared with individuals who did not fast. This suggests that “intermittent fasting by skipping breakfast was significantly associated with a reduced risk of AMD [age-related macular degeneration] in a representative older adult population.” Especially in individuals with “age <70 years, obesity and urban residence.”
What This Research Means for You
Your nutrition and diet impact your eye health. Intermittent fasting may be a healthy choice to help lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration.
However, before you start skipping breakfast, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor can review your medical history, answer your questions and make suggestions regarding nutrition and other healthy choices.
If you are ready to make healthy choices now, below are some suggestions:
- Drink more water (stay hydrated)
- Exercise daily
- Eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables
- Get enough sleep
- Stop using tobacco
The best way to detect age-related macular degeneration and other serious eye conditions is with regular eye exams. If it has been a while since your last eye exam, then it is time to schedule an appointment with Mittleman Eye. Patients who wish to make an appointment can schedule one directly online or call or text (561) 500-2020.