Can Macular Degeneration Be Reversed? 2
Reversing Macular Degeneration
Falling ill is never an enjoyable experience. However, we are typically able to use the knowledge that in time we will recover to push ourselves through the worst phases of an illness. Knowing that better days are just hours away helps us to maintain hope. In the case of an irreversible illness it becomes far more difficult to maintain a positive outlook. We can wish for a reduction in symptoms or even a cure, but we are never sure that they will arrive.
Macular degeneration is a disease in which the macula and retina are damaged, often resulting in vision loss. In fact, macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among elderly Western populations. With the speed at which macular degeneration progresses and the widespread occurrence of the disease, a macular degeneration diagnosis may make one feel like vision loss is inevitable. Luckily, more recent research is showing that changes in diet can do wonders to guard against, slow the progression of, and possibly even reverse some of the symptoms of macular degeneration.
Intake of Vitamins, Minerals, and Phytochemicals
A research study conducted by the National Eye Institute found that supplementation of key nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and copper helped to slow both vision loss and the progression of intermediate macular degeneration. Additional research took this a step further, looking at the effects of a category of phytochemicals called carotenoids.
Apparently there is a bit of truth to the old adage that eating carrots is beneficial for one’s eyes. Carotenoids are responsible for giving fruits and vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers their bright orange, yellow, and red hues. Types of carotenoids, including zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta carotene, play a critical role in maintaining eye health. These carotenoids aid in guarding against vision loss while also improving one’s ability to see colors and fine detail. Additionally, they also play a role in protecting our eyes against the damaging effects of the UV light we encounter outdoors as well as the blue light that emanates from our laptops, phones and other digital devices.
Additional Nutrients to Aid in Eye Health
While adequate intake of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals mentioned above is critical for eye health, there exist a few additional compounds that also show promise. Taurine is an organic acid found in its highest concentration in meats. Within the body, a high concentration of taurine is found in the retina’s photoreceptor cells and is thought to protect the eye from UV damage.
Omega 3 fatty acids - most often found in fatty fish - also play a role in eye health. Omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce systemic inflammation and may be able to reduce intraocular pressure.
A proper diet, rich in key nutrients, can do wonders to improve wellbeing and guard against disease. The vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and additional compounds mentioned are particularly beneficial for eye health. However, these nutrients are not just for those who are concerned over their vision; they are a great addition to any balanced nutrition plan. Do you currently take a supplement to help get the above recommendations? We’d love to hear about it!
Dr. Jenna Zigler
- Dr. Jenna Zigler
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Carotenoid Supplements For Improving Contrast Sensitivity 0
Carotenoid Supplements For Improving Contrast Sensitivity
Carotenoid supplementation, such as Eye Love’s Ocular Health Formula, can lead to statistically significant increases in contrast sensitivity revealed a study in June’s Investigative Ophthalmology & Vision Science. This science-based evidence could be particularly beneficial to athletes and members of the military, as both must quickly identify fast-moving or small objects. Study participants were given 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin, which is the exact dosage in our formula.
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Dr. Jenna Zigler
Age-Related Macular Degeneration 0
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is damage that occurs to the macula which is located in the back of the eye, directly at the line of sight. The macula is the part of the eye that is responsible for sharp central vision, which enables a person to pinpoint objects and recognize faces. This deterioration occurs from older age in many individuals, as the name suggests.
There are two types of AMD. The first type is dry AMD, which is characterized by a breakdown of the macular tissues which causes a buildup to form underneath the retinal layers, called drusen. If the yellow deposits of drusen increase in size, then the tissue at the back of the eye may be cut off from its blood supply. If this occurs, new blood vessels form and tend to leak. This leads to the second type of macular degeneration, which is wet or exudative AMD. Both of these types of macular degeneration can lead to devastating loss of vision.
AMD is preventative by eating approximately 2.5-5 cups of leafy, green vegetables a day which boost antioxidants and help fight free radicals that take part in the age-related breakdown of the macula. Wearing proper UV protection, a healthy exercise regimen, and not smoking may also decrease the risk of AMD. In fact, smoking increased your AMD risk by over four times!
There are vitamin supplements that are available which have antioxidants in them, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, that have been shown to help filter oxidative chemicals and harmful blue light causing damage to the macula. However, it is important to consult with an eye doctor before beginning any new eye vitamins. Our Ocular Health Formula from Eye Love is used daily with our patients and is definitely approved by us!
Patients who have dry AMD are commonly monitored with an Amsler Grid. Patients are given this grid to monitor how their vision is functioning. If they see any parts of the grid missing, or wavy lines, it may indicate that their condition is changing. If wet AMD begins, they will likely become a candidate for anti-VEGF injections. Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) is a drug that is used to stop new blood vessel formation in its tracks. Eylea, Avastin, and Lucentis are the names of the drugs that are successfully being used at this time. These drugs aim to preserve vision and in some cases improve sight. If you’re suffering from macular degeneration, don’t wait to begin supplements and definitely don’t delay that eye exam!
We love hearing from those with AMD and especially hearing success stories. If you’ve got one, post it in the comments below!
Rufino, Silva. Age Related Macular Degeneration . Portugal : GER Group , 2010. Print.
- Dr. Jenna Zigler
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Tools for Living in Later Stages of Macular Degeneration 0
Later Stages of Macular Degeneration
Later stages of macular degeneration are associated with central vision loss, which may mean eventual legal blindness. Eyesight generally continues to worsen and makes performing daily tasks very difficult. As a result, living with the condition may prove challenging, if not frustrating, for many. Fortunately, there are several coping mechanisms to aid people in the process.
People who use prescription eyewear should get their eyeglasses checked regularly to make sure their prescription is suitable for them. Magnifiers, also referred to as telescopic lenses in some cases, are a way to enhance reading and similar work that requires close-up vision. Examples include adding telescopic lenses to prescription glasses, and using hand-held magnifying glasses.
A great way to cope with vision loss is to take advantage of modern day technology and use advanced tools. People can change computer interfaces by adjusting font size, altering contrast, increasing volume, and adding speech-input systems. Closed-circuit TV (CCTV) setups that project magnified images on a larger screen with a video camera are readily available.
Those who enjoy reading can find books, tablets, and cellphones with large print. Some electronic devices have options specifically for people with low vision. A number of them also employ voice recognition systems that can make life so much easier for those who are undergoing vision loss.
Day to day modifications
Improving the power of home and office lights may facilitate the completion of daily activities while reducing the chance of accidents. Finding a shuttle or public transport is a convenient option for those who find it hard to see well while driving. The support of family or friends is favorable for completing everyday tasks in most scenarios.
Taking vitamin supplements
Particularly for people in the moderate stages of macular degeneration, using a powerful mixture of supplements may assist in limiting the rate of vision loss. High amounts of antioxidant vitamins and minerals are known to fight against the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation in the retina. While these nutrients can also be found in everyday food, a supplement is a convenient and regulated way of getting an abundant supply.
A standard supplement regimen is composed of a combination of various ingredients, researched in the AREDS and AREDS2 studies. Vitamins C and E as well as small doses of lutein and zeaxanthin are reliable antioxidants. The addition of minimal amounts of zinc and copper further help to limit the degeneration of macular cells. Vitamin supplementation is especially beneficial for cases of wet macular degeneration. Care should be taken to consult medical professionals before starting these, but evidence shows that progression of the disease can be decreased with consistent use. Have you tried any of the above suggestions?
Dr. Jenna Zigler
- Dr. Jenna Zigler
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