Recent studies have shown that macular degeneration vitamins not only prevent and slow the progression of the disease, but also help to significantly improve your eyesight as well.
This is just as well, because macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is one of the leading causes of blindness among Americans over the age of 65.
Macular degeneration vitamins both slow the progression of the disease and improve your eyesight
What Exactly Is Macular Degeneration?
As the name itself suggests, this condition refers to the degeneration of the macula, which is the part of the retina that is responsible for central vision.
Although most cases of AMD start with the loss of central vision, they eventually progress to complete blindness if neglected.
The Two Types Of AMD
There are basically two types of macular degeneration – the dry form and the wet form. The former, also known as the atrophic form, is more common than the wet form.
1. Dry Macular Degeneration
In the dry form, there is a gradual blurring of central vision as the cells in the macula are gradually broken down. Thus, the people with this condition develop small, round, yellowish spots known as “drusen” in the retina, and these serve as the key identifiers of the dry form of AMD. Drusen can be detected through retinal examination with the use of an ophthalmoscope. These spots can be detected as early as the late 30s, though they increase in number and become more apparent when a person reaches the age of 70.
Dry macular degeneration symptoms may not manifest until a person has reached old age, even if the spots have been present for decades already.
2. Wet Macular Degeneration
The more severe type of AMD is the wet or exudative or neovascular form. Even though it only accounts for 15% of people with AMD, almost two-thirds of these people develop significant loss of vision. In the wet form, blood vessels grow under the retina’s center. These blood vessels are abnormal, so they bleed and scar the retina, hence distorting central vision. This vision distortion can start with one eye, then subsequently affect the other eye. In this case, vision loss is rapid.
Wet MD can further be subdivided into two – the occult type, which is less severe because the leakage is less pronounced; and the classic type, which has more evident scarring, thus producing severe vision loss.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
Symptoms of AMD include blurring of central and distance vision, development of scotomas (blind spots), and distortion of vision. Visual loss associated with AMD is often painless.
Macular Degeneration Prevention
Although there are no proven preventive drugs for AMD, there are still ways that you can help avoid the development of the disease. One is through checkups with your ophthalmologist. Since drusen are detected as early as 35 years old, it is advisable to have your eyes checked at least once a year even if you do not experience any symptoms. Earlier detection means better chances of treating the disease. Those who are older than 65 years of age should also undergo macular degeneration screening.
Seeing an ophthalmologist and undergoing macular degeneration screening is the first step to managing the disease and preventing progression
It is also important to live a healthy lifestyle, since there are studies that show how bad habits can trigger the development of eye diseases, particularly AMD. Quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and protecting your eyes against direct ultraviolet rays can go a long way in preventing AMD.
Macular Degeneration Vitamins
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study or AREDS also found that taking eye vitamins for macular degeneration can actually decrease the likelihood of developing AMD. They have conducted studies and produced evidence that suggests vitamins A, C, and E, as well as zinc, selenium, and copper, can prevent or slow down the development of AMD.
Many ophthalmologists are now recommending the use of supplements containing these vitamins in order to prevent age-related eye conditions. Also, studies are being done regarding the effectiveness of lutein and zeaxanthin in the prevention of AMD.
Lutein is a powerful antioxidant which makes up the macular pigment, which is responsible for eye protection and prevention of age-related macular degeneration. The body is unable to manufacture lutein, so one must rely on diet and supplementation in order to get this nutrient. In the AREDS it was found that people with low levels of lutein in the blood are actually more susceptible to AMD.
Lutein can be found in green and leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale. Yellow and orange vegetables are also known to be rich sources of lutein, such as corn and squash.
Another nutrient that makes up the macular pigment and is also beneficial in the prevention of AMD is zeaxanthin. Together with lutein, zeaxanthin is another component of the macular pigment. Where lutein is more abundant in the rod cells (responsible for detecting light), zeaxanthin is concentrated more on the cone cells (responsible for seeing colors), of the retina.
Zeaxanthin can be found in foods such as peppers, corn, spinach, lettuce, turnip, kale, and tangerine. Recent studies show that the Chinese berry known as goji berry contains high levels of zeaxanthin as well as beta carotene, which are deemed to be highly beneficial to the eyes.
Zinc deficiency is also seen to be a contributing factor in the development of AMD. Hence, taking high levels of this nutrient can help prevent the progression of AMD.
Food sources of zinc include oysters, poultry, red meat, beans, and nuts.
Although macular degeneration vitamins can be found in a healthy diet, sometimes these are not enough. Hence, ophthalmologists recommend vitamin supplements to be included in the dietary regimen so as to help prevent AMD and other age-related eye diseases.
To learn more about how you can improve eyesight naturally, click here to visit How To Improve Eyesight Naturally.