The risk of both early- and late-onset macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness, increases with age but can be prevented, a new study published in the journal Opthalmology finds. After taking detailed images of the interior of the eyes of 5,272 people in Iceland aged 66 and older, researchers found that 11 percent of those in their late 60s had an early form of AMD, and this rate increased to 36 percent for people 85 and older. Those in the oldest age group had a 10-fold higher prevalence of late AMD compared to those between 70 and 74 years old.
Though the disease remains incurable, a U.S. government clinical trial found that a high dose mix of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and zinc can slow the progression of AMD when it is still in the intermediate stage.
ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross pointedly observes in response that, “Older people should get their eyes checked relatively frequently, because the earlier you can catch AMD, the easier it is to treat.”