How to Prevent Macular Degeneration | Macular Degeneration Diet 0
How to Prevent Macular Degeneration From Getting Worse
The loss of sight induces a sense of fear that almost feels primal. When one of our most frequently used senses fails to function, we feel threatened and we are forced to acclimate by relying more heavily on our senses of hearing and touch.
Perhaps this natural association of vision loss with danger accounts for the fear that we experience when diagnosed with a condition like age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
According to AMD.org, this condition is the primary cause of severe vision loss, worsens with age, and manifests itself in one of two forms - wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration. These two forms differ in the particular manner in which they damage the retina and macula.
While the wet form affects a meager 10-15% of individuals diagnosed with macular degeneration, it is responsible for a staggering 90% of the severe vision loss associated with the condition. While these statistics are quite frightening at first, there is hope in that treatments and preventative actions may be able to slow the progression of this condition.
Macular Degeneration Diet
As is the case with most health afflictions, a proper diet can do wonders to reduce the symptoms of this condition and, according to some doctors, diet may even be able to heal wet macular degeneration in some people.
A key study conducted by the National Eye Institute - titled the long-term Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) - discovered that when supplementing a diet with a few critical nutrients, the risk of developing macular degeneration was reduced. “Let food be thy medicine” and incorporate the following research-supported foods and nutrients into an “anti-AMD” diet and eat these DAILY.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Found in dark, leafy greens; broccoli; zucchini; and eggs. Here is our Eye Love Ocular Health Formula vitamin that contains both antioxidants and more!
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna. Also take an omega-3 supplement like our Heyedrate Omega-3 for Eye Health
- Vitamin C: Found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, but especially prevalent in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lime and lemon.
- Vitamin E: Found in fortified cereals and grains; sunflower seeds; almonds; peanuts and tofu.
- Zinc: Found in meat; fortified cereals; dried beans; whole wheat and buckwheat.
- Copper: Found in dark, leafy greens like kale, swiss chard, turnip greens and mustard greens; legumes; whole grains; nuts and seeds.
Not only will a diet rich in these foods help to protect one’s eyes, it will also contribute to an overall higher level of health and wellbeing. It is best to obtain these nutrients by eating a variety of whole foods; adding dietary supplements only when it is impossible for one to take in adequate amounts of nutrients through diet alone.
If eating the perfect diet seems daunting, make sure you check out our Heyedrate Omega-3 for Eye Health (good for more than just dry eye!) and Eye Love Ocular Health Formula (our version of the AREDS2 research)!
At first one may feel a bit intimidated by the prospect of completely changing his or her diet. We often eat food for more reasons than just hunger. We equate food with emotion and experience. From a young age we celebrate birthdays with a delicious slice of chocolate cake, and we are rewarded with a lollipop or piece of candy when displaying good behavior.
However, the lasting health benefits of nutrient-rich foods far outweigh the fleeting happiness that accompanies a sweet treat. With time, proper nutrition becomes a habit that is rewarded with a longer and richer life. Let us know some of your favorite eye-healthy foods below!
Dr. Jenna Zigler
Are Injections For Macular Degeneration Painful? 2
There are currently no treatments for macular degeneration that completely cure the disease or even stop its progression. Research in recent years has discovered various ways to slow inevitable vision loss and, although rarely, improve vision in particular areas. Several types of treatment include laser treatment, combinations of medicines, and injection. Concerns about injections for macular degeneration being painful should be eased since they are regarded as straightforward and painless. Several injection-based treatments are detailed below.
Visudyne drug treatment is a photodynamic therapy that was the first drug therapy ever approved for the treatment of the wet form of macular degeneration. It is designated exclusively for people who have what is called a “predominantly classic” growth pattern of new blood vessels directly under the retina. An area of the arm is numbed with a painkiller after which the drug is delivered via a painless injection. Once the drug reaches the newly growing blood vessels under the retina, a low-energy laser beam is shone into the eye to activate the medication. Upon activation, Visudyne creates a chemical reaction that extinguishes unwanted blood vessels in the eye. Both the injection and the laser are considered virtually painless.
Visudyne diminishes the symptoms of wet macular degeneration and slows down the development of legal blindness in many patients. This laser-activated drug can also be administered along with other treatments, including Lucentis or Avastin.
Lucentis is actually an altered form of the colorectal cancer treatment drug Avastin. Lucentis has more recently been FDA approved as a way to treat advanced stages of the wet form of macular degeneration. In advanced stages of macular degeneration, there is an overgrowth of abnormal blood vessels triggered by a compound called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF for short. The way Lucentis functions is by blocking VEGF proteins and thus preventing them from growing unnecessary blood vessels in the retina.
Most of the research surrounding Lucentis shows that it has a mostly positive effect. It was beneficial in improving, or at least stabilizing, the vision of nearly all of the people who took it. By limiting VEGF, many Lucentis users experienced improvements in vision, whereas the majority of other treatments simply stop macular degeneration from getting worse.
The way Lucentis is given is through an injection directly into the eye at monthly intervals (or as directed by your retinal specialist). Although the actual injection is considered to be painless, there have been scenarios were adverse reactions took place, such as eye inflammation, elevated eye pressure, and cataracts due to trauma. Continuing studies are required in order to fully explain the implications and side effects of taking Lucentis as an eye injection, but it is considered very safe and effective.
Macugen and Eylea
Macugen and Eylea, like Lucentis, are other forms of eye injection treatment. They both act similarly in that they attempt to stop VEGF from creating more hazardous blood vessels in the retina. Whereas Macugen is given every six weeks, Eylea is only needed once every other month (at the discretion of your doctor). Have you experienced any of the above procedures? Did they work for you?
Dr. Travis Zigler
- Dr. Travis Zigler
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How Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress? 2
How Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?
Macular Degeneration is a condition which results in deterioration of the center part of the retina. The retina is located in the inside of the back layer of the eye and sends signals to the optic nerve, which the brain translates into an image. This allows us to interpret what we see. The macula is the center of vision that allows us to see color, focus for reading, and see fine details like the expressions on people’s faces.
What Is the Difference Between Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration?
Wet macular degeneration happens when there are abnormal blood vessels that have grown under both the macula and retina. When the abnormal vessels bleed and leak it causes the macula to lift up or bulge. When the macula is lifted up it destroys central vision. Wet macular degeneration is the less common of the two forms.
Dry macular degeneration does not have any of the leakage of serum or blood displayed in the wet type, but instead it has small yellow deposits that form under the macula. This results in the area thinning and drying, causing the macula to lose its ability to function.
How Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?
People generally ask how fast this disease progresses as one of their first questions. It’s a question that is hard to answer. Depending when and how far the disease has progressed differs from patient to patient. Wet macular degeneration will progress faster than dry macular degeneration. About 85-90% of those diagnosed have the dry kind.
It is not uncommon to have both types in the later stages and the disease may be found in only one eye. Macular degeneration is not a curable disease at this time, but it can be slowed down if caught early.
Ways to Slow or Prevent Macular Degeneration
According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF), there are some lifestyle choices that can help delay or avoid this disease. Smoking is one of the higher risk factors. Also eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies, especially dark leafy vegetables such as uncooked spinach, kale,and collard greens helps to stave off AMD. Exercise on a regular basis, walking up to 2 miles a day three times a week or something equivalent will help. And perhaps one of the most important things to do is regularly see your eye specialist!
Dr. Travis Zigler
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