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General EYE ADVICE

Introduction

Part I Eye Problems, Possible Causes and Advice By AGE Grouping

Section (A) INFANTS and PRE-SCHOOLERS

Section (B) SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN and ADOLESCENTS

Section (C) YOUNGER ADULTS  (UP TO EARLY FORTIES)

Section (D) MIDDLE AGE (UP TO SIXTY YEARS)

Section (E) OLDER AGE (OVER SIXTY YEARS)

Part (II) Selected Eye problems of Importance to All Age Groups.

Section (A) ASTIGMATISM

Section (B) COMMON CHRONIC INFECTIVE CONJUNCTIVITIS

Section (C) Hints on Eye Usage with Computers

Section (D) Lifestyle and Glaucoma

CONCLUSION

Age related Macular Degeneration

Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a deterioration of the macula, which is the central part of the retina. In the developed countries, this condition is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65 years of age. The principal cause in this age group is now thought to be the cumulative effects of sun radiation in susceptible individuals. Thus sun protection again is of particular importance. It needs to be understood that sun protection must begin at a very early age as the effects of UV radiation are cumulative and are usually not manifest at a younger age.

A small proportion of people suffers AMD that is clearly due to a genetic defect. They usually show signs of the disease upon routine eye examination at an earlier age (mostly over 50 years).

One important factor that makes an individual more prone to retinal damage from UV radiation is a diet lacking in anti-oxidants. As in the case of cataract prevention, a balanced diet that is high in fruits, grains and vegetables is necessary for an adequate supply of the vitamins and minerals that are needed to maintain the retina in a healthy state. Spinach and collard greens have been proven to be especially helpful. If a well-balanced diet is not possible, ask your eyecare professional for vitamin supplements. For further reading on AMD and diet go to Nutrition and the Eye .

As smoking can deplete the levels of anti-oxidants and can also interfere with the micro-vascular circulation, it can significantly contribute to AMD and should be avoided. On the other hand, there is recent news that alcohol consumption does not adversely affect AMD. In fact, research at the Howard University in Washington found that wine consumption reduced the risk of AMD by 20 per cent.

At present, only about 10 per cent of cases of AMD are of the form that can potentially be treated with current available treatments. Given this fact, and also the fact that AMD is quite prevalent in old age, we must make people aware of the need to actively engage in the preventive measures outlined above, especially if they have early signs of the disease.

For those in whom AMD has progressed to the stage where the vision is markedly affected, LOW VISION services are generally available to help with finding suitable magnifying aids and with rehabilitating affected individuals. An example of an organisation offering such services is the Low Vision Clinic in Hawthorn (Victoria, Aust.) that is run by the Association For The Blind.

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