What Foods Should be Avoided With Macular Degeneration?

Monali Sharma
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what foods should be avoided with macular degeneration?

The ability to see is powerful.

It enables us to carry on with our regular lives. However, we occasionally take it for granted.

Macular Degeneration is a common eye condition affecting people in older age. According to CDC, it affected around 20 million people in America in 2019.

A good diet can help prevent several eye conditions, including Macular Degeneration.

National Eye Institute conducted a study to find the link between a healthy diet and AMD.

The study found the reduced progression of intermediate AMD in people who took a regular eye-healthy diet.

Keep reading to know more about what foods should be avoided with Macular Degeneration.

Foods to avoid

Macular Degeneration is not a reversible disease. Thus it becomes crucial to keep track of what we eat.

Meals that are mainly associated with cholesterol are not good for the eyes. Therefore you should keep away from the following:

Processed food

Processed saturated fats can increase the risk of advanced Macular Degeneration.

A higher intake of fats can cause plaque accumulation in the blood vessels in your body, including the eyes.

Plaque blocks the blood flow from reaching your eyes.

The eyes do not get enough nutrition and oxygen, which can damage the blood vessels.

The amount and type of dietary fat you choose also play an essential role in the development of AMD by causing,

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative damage
  • Altering Retinal Integrity

These are all the risk factors that may contribute to the progression of early AMD into intermediate AMD.

Tropical oils

what foods should be avoided with macular degeneration? Coconut OilSource: etorres69_from_Getty_Images
Coconut Oil

Tropical oils, such as palm or coconut oil, have significant amounts of Hydrogenated fats.

They have similar effects on the progression of Macular Degeneration as other foods with saturated fat and sugar.

High-fat consumption can clog up blood vessels in your retina and choroid. This blocks the nutrient and oxygen supply required for vision. 

Red meat

Red meat, such as fatty beef, pork, and lamb, are considered risk factors for developing Macular Degeneration.

A recently published study observed the link between red meat consumption and age-related MD.

Another study by Monica Dinu et al. presents an increased risk of early (not late) AMD for those who frequently consume red meat.

Sweets and sugary drinks

High intake of simple sugars can result in the production of Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs).

AGEs are the proteins or lipids that become glycated when exposed to sugar. They are usually associated with Macular Degeneration.

This links them mainly due to AGEs accumulation in ocular tissues. 

Furthermore, by interfering with ATP generation, AGEs have a negative impact on cellular metabolism. 

A team led by Professor Allen Taylor at Tufts University Medical School studied the effects of sugar on AMD.

The study found a significant association between sugar consumption and the development of large drusen.

Interesting Fact
The role dairy foods play in Age-related Macular Degeneration is somewhat controversial.

There is a study against the use of dairy and a 2014 study that shows that consuming less dairy resulted in a high risk of AMD.

Foods for Macular Degeneration

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are antioxidants mostly known for their advantageous effects on the eyes.

They are linked with reducing the risk of having Neovascular AMD (advanced stage of AMD), geographic atrophy, and large-sized drusen.

In addition to avoiding fatty and sugary food, you can try to incorporate foods rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin for better eye health.

Fruits and vegetables

fresh vegetablesSource: bondarillia
fresh vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are essential for our overall health.

Not only are they high in Vitamin C and beta-carotene, but they are also rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Fruits and vegetables also contain filling fiber that helps pull cholesterol out of the body. 

Nuts and seeds

Regular intake of nuts and seeds can help improve health outcomes.

Including them in your daily diet can help to reduce the risk factors,

  • Glycemic and lipid metabolism
  • Oxidative stress
  • Inflammation

Nuts contain Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds with antioxidant properties.

Recommended Article:
To learn more about Vitamins you can take for Macular Degeneration, read Eye Vitamins for Macular Degeneration: Know the Right Combination.

Research has shown that the intake of polyunsaturated fats is associated with the prevalence of intermediate-stage of AMD.

Fish consumption

The association between fish intake and AMD risk is unclear.

But there have been several studies to determine the link between them. The conclusion of all these studies demonstrates that fish consumption, especially tuna fish, can reduce the risk of AMD.

It affects the development of AMD by inhibiting Neovascularization by displacing Omega-6 and inducing cellular responses.

Fish is a rich source of Omega-3, associated with alterations in retinal structure and visual function of patients with AMD.

Also Read: There are certain vitamins also that will help with Macular Degeneration, so you can go through, Which Eye Vitamin is Best for Macular Degeneration?


In conclusion, avoid foods high in cholesterol and include foods rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Foods such as red meat, sweets, and tropical oils are associated with the progression of AMD. Whereas fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds can help reduce the risk of AMD.

It is yet unclear how dairy products may contribute to Macular Degeneration. Consequently, you can discuss it with your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What foods should you avoid if you have Macular Degeneration?

Foods with high cholesterol are not good for our overall health, including our eyes. Thus it is best to avoid foods with processed saturated fats, tropical oils, and foods with high sugar content.

What foods are good for Macular Degeneration?

You can consume foods rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which helps reduce the risk of Neovascular AMD. Foods such as fish, Fruits, and vegetables are good for Macular Degeneration.

How can I fix Macular Degeneration naturally?

Currently, there is no way to treat or reverse Macular Degeneration. But you can try a healthy diet rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fibers to control Macular Degeneration.

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