Healthy Living

There are things you can do to slow the progression of your disease by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

There is growing evidence that by improving your diet, you may also improve the health of your eyes. Research has also suggested an association between macular degeneration and a high saturated fat diet.

There is also evidence that eating fresh fruits and dark green, leafy vegetables – foods rich in vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids (including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) may delay or reduce the severity of AMD.

Foods to Enjoy

Eat the freshest and brightest fruits and vegetables. Pick the most colorful vegetables and fruits you can find – red, dark green, orange, or yellow. These foods play a key role in keeping your eyes healthy:

  • carrots
  • corn
  • kiwi
  • pumpkin
  • yellow squash
  • zucchini squash
  • red grapes
  • green peas
  • cucumber
  • butternut squash
  • green bell pepper
  • celery
  • cantaloupe
  • sweet potatoes
  • dried apricots
  • tomato and tomato products
  • dark green leafy vegetables
  • spinach
  • kale
  • turnips
  • collard greens
  • Fish

    Eating fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel two to three times per week can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) according to a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

    This research further confirms earlier studies that suggested eating fish can help reduce the risk of getting AMD and demonstrates that some of those already affected by the disease can benefit as well.


    Nuts not only contain Omega-3 fatty acids, but also copper which can play a role in preventing age-related eye diseases. Even just a handful of nuts at two or three times a week can reduce your risk of AMD.

    Foods to Avoid

    A high-fat, high-cholesterol diet can lead to fatty plaque deposits in the macular vessels, which can hamper blood flow and increase the risk of AMD. A diet low in fat promotes good eye health. Skip foods and processed baked goods with high-fat content. In addition recent research has indicated that those consuming red meat (10 times a week or more) were at 47% higher risk for macular degeneration.

    Vitamins and Supplements

    The National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that taking a specific high-dose formulation of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduces the risk of advanced AMD and its associated vision loss. Slowing AMD’s progression from the intermediate stage to the advanced stage will save the vision of many people.

    People who should consider taking the combination of antioxidants plus zinc include those who are at high risk for developing advanced AMD. These people are defined as having either:

    1. Intermediate AMD in one or both eyes. Intermediate AMD is defined as the presence of either many medium-sized drusen or one or more large drusen.
    2. Advanced AMD in one eye, but not the other eye. Advanced AMD is defined as either a breakdown of light-sensitive cells and supporting tissue in the central retinal area (advanced dry form), or the development of abnormal and fragile blood vessels under the retina (wet form) that can leak fluid or bleed. Either of these forms of advanced AMD can cause vision loss.

    Ask you doctor if taking this special formulation is right for you and where you can obtain the specific formula in your country.

    The doses used in the study were:

    • Vitamin C 500 mg
    • Vitamin E 400 IU
    • Beta-carotene 15 mg (approximately 25,000 IU)
    • Zinc 80 mg, as zinc oxide
    • Copper 2 mg, as cupric oxide (copper should be taken with zinc, because high-dose zinc is associated with copper deficiency.)

    While most patients in the study experienced no serious side effects from the doses of zinc and antioxidants used, a few taking zinc alone had urinary tract problems that required hospitalization. Some patients taking large doses of antioxidants experienced some yellowing of the skin. Some supplements may interfere with each other or other medications. Smokers and former smokers should not take beta-carotene, as studies have shown a link between beta-carotene use and lung cancer among smokers. The long-term effects of taking large doses of these supplements are still unknown.

    Again, before embarking on a vitamin supplement program, consult with your eye care professional and follow his or her dosage recommendations carefully.

    Additional Recommended Preventative Measures

    No Smoking! Various studies show a correlation between smoking and AMD. Some studies suggest that people who smoke may be three to four times more likely to have AMD. Exercise. Studies have shown that exercise can reduce risk of AMD and slow the progression of the disease as well. Control your body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Protect your eyes! There is some evidence that light exposure may be associated with a higher risk of developing AMD. Wear sunglasses, especially in strong light.


    AMD Alliance International is not a medical organisation, therefore we can only provide general information that is not intended to be a substitute for a proper medical assessment. Please read our eye health information disclaimer.

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