AMD – how to handle Macular Degeneration
AMD is the leading cause of blindness for both men and women over the age of 55. This condition affects millions of people all over the world.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, causes light-sensitive cells in the back of your eye to stop functioning. The result is severe vision loss. This is a degenerative retinal disease and it causes central vision loss and leaves only peripheral vision. AMD affects the part of your visual field that is needed for driving and other everyday activities.
Awareness of the condition is quite low. The problem is there is a prediction that the number of people affected by this condition is quickly growing.
The macula is a yellow spot of about five millimetres in diameter on the retina. When you age, levels of the pigments in the macula decrease naturally. This is what increases the risk of AMD. The yellow colour is due to the content of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which we get from our diet. These compounds are the only ones capable of filtering blue light, which can damage cells in your eye. If you have a thin macular pigment, it can allow the blue light through and destroy cells. Maintaining high levels of carotenoids, will help maintain the pigment. This is a great approach to maintaining eye health.
How to slow down AMD progression
Unfortunately, there is no current cure for this condition. The good news is, there is a way to slow it down once diagnosed. This is through vitamin supplementation. The condition if untreated just will get worse. One study did show that exercise may reduce the risks of developing AMD. This particular study followed men and women over a 15-year period. Those with an active lifestyle were 70% less likely to develop AMD. This disease can also begin in middle age. Fortunately, antioxidants are also a great way to slow down the process.
Keeping high carotenoids for AMD
Research has found a link between the intake of carotenoid-rich food and a big reduction in AMD. Food that is particularly high in carotenoids is your dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. These vegetables are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. There is a lot of epidemiological evidence and supplementation studies, that show increased serum levels of lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with increased macular pigmentation. Macular pigment optical density, which is an indicator of xanthophyll levels in your eye, may also serve as a way not only for predicting your risk for eye disease but also for visual function. Your ratios of lutein to zeaxanthin are important. Based on serum concentrations we need 5:1 lutein to zeaxanthin ratio.
Another carotenoid, astaxanthin, has also been linked to eye health. This may be good for treating eye and central nervous system diseases or injuries including AMD.
Omega-3 helps AMD
Other than lutein and zeaxanthin, there is a growing body of science that supports potential benefits for omega-3 fatty acids when it comes to AMD. Insufficient fatty acid intake may cause abnormal metabolism in the retina. This can then affect cell renewal. Omega-3 DHA is vital for the structural and functional component of your photoreceptor of your retina. Due to oxidative stress in those cells, they are in need of constant replenishment. DHA increases the MPOD in the central region of the macula. A high intake of omega-3 fatty acids and fish may reduce the risk of AMD by up to 38 per cent and also, reduce the risk of developing age-related blindness by 30 percent.
Other eye related conditions
Their are other conditions affected by by AMD. The benefits of lutein may also be helpful for rentinitis pigmentosa. This is a group of inherited eye diseases that affect the retina. They cause the degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina that lead to vision loss.
Benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin may also be helpful for cataracts and cataract-related conditions. Lutein is present in the lens of the eye, and cataracts are caused in part by oxidation of the lens. These may also protect against the detrimental effects of long-term computer light exposure. Combining lutein, zeaxanthin and blackcurrant extract may reverse signs of visual fatigue. Computer screens are not the only reason for visual fatigue.
Another condition that can cause problems with your eyes is known as dry eyes. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye syndrome, is a condition in which your eyes do not make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. When this happens is causes dry eyes, which then increases your risk of inflammation. Fatty acids are again a potential benefit. Omega-3 and omega-6 may be helpful in being able to reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Linolenic acid is a basis for anti-inflammatory compounds, which could reduce inflammation.
So, looking after your eyes as you age is essential. Find more information on how to look after your eyesight on this link https://www.wellbeing.com.au/body/health/eyes-health.html
It’s not just about a quick trip to the optometrist and to fill your glasses script. It’s about investigating with a naturopath or nutritionist which foods, antioxidants, supplements and minerals you lack because without them your eyesight will only deteriorate more.