Risk Factors

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that can cause loss of central vision due to damage of the retina. It's very important to understand what can cause this condition in order to know if you are at risk for AMD because there are precautions that can be taken to avoid damage from this disease.

Risk Factors in Olympia

Age: This condition is the most common above age 60, hence the name age-related macular degeneration. About 2% of people in their 50s have AMD and approximately a third of those aged 75+ have the disease.

Race: Caucasians are at highest risk for developing AMD and for going blind from macular degeneration. Approximately a third of white people have a gene linked to macular degeneration and people with light colored eyes have a higher chance of developing dry AMD.

Genetics: Family history is important because if you have a first degree relative who has AMD then you have three times as high a chance of developing the condition yourself.

Smoking: People who smoke are up to four times more likely to get macular degeneration than those who have never smoked. This is attributed to the fact that smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches different parts of the body, including the eyes.

Other health conditions: There are various health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, or diabetic retinopathy that could increase the chances of having macular degeneration. Please make sure to provide all of your medical history to your eye doctor who can guide you what the best steps are to protect your eye health.

Gender: Approximately two thirds of those with macular degeneration are women. There is a possible correlation with the fact that generally women live longer.

If you have any of these risk factors, it is advised to schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor in Olympia. They will provide you with an accurate diagnosis and guide you as to what your best options are.

Common Questions

It’s important to have an understanding of the risk factors involved with this disease because some are within our control but not all are. However, just being aware of what raises the chances of developing AMD can help you stay one step ahead of this disease and to do your best to take the precautions that can protect you from vision loss. For example, one way of lowering your risk is to never start smoking or to quit this habit. Thankfully, there are many wonderful resources to help you quit smoking so please don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider about the available options. On the other hand, we don’t have the luxury of controlling our genetic composition. Knowing your family history and getting checked by your eye doctor can give you insight on certain precautions that can be taken. It also can enable early detection which is crucial in preserving your eyesight. For people who are at high risk for developing the rare form of wet AMD, there is a supplement filled with vitamins and minerals which can help lower the risk by 25%. Please don’t hesitate to discuss the available options with your eye doctor in order to preserve your vision and eye health.
The most common form of blindness related to smoking is macular degeneration. Smoking is the main risk factor of AMD which is in our control to change. It prevents oxygen and necessary nutrients from being able to reach your retina. Therefore, smoking is responsible for increasing your chances of developing AMD by up to four times the amount of risk compared to a non-smoker. It is strongly recommended to quit smoking and your health care provider can recommend various effective methods to quit. If you smoke and have already been diagnosed with AMD, quitting this habit can lower the damage that macular degeneration can cause.
Risk Factors
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


There are many factors that can cause macular degeneration and it’s essential to be aware of what they are. If you have any concerns of your chances of developing this disease, please schedule an appointment with our eye doctor who will be happy to discuss this important topic with you and to guide you as to what your best options are. You can schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor by calling (360) 491-2121. Patients searching for advanced treatment for macular degeneration visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
1 2 3



How Does Vision Therapy Improve Reading Ability?

According to the American Optometric Association, approximately 80% of what a child learns in school is acquired through vision, and […]

Read More

What Causes Bloodshot Eyes? Understanding the Causes and Treatments

Bloodshot eyes can be alarming, but they are not always a cause for concern. In this blog, we will discuss […]

Read More

Ocular Rosacea: Understanding the Symptoms and Best Treatment Options

Rosacea is a skin condition that affects many people. While it is commonly found on the face, rosacea can also […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

American Family Vision Clinic Logo

Working Hours




400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 459-1097
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram