Macular Degeneration — slow vision loss

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Can Macular Degeneration Be Reversed?

Can Macular Degeneration Be Reversed? 2

Can Macular Degeneration Be Reversed?

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.

Can Macular Degeneration Be Reversed?

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!


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Jenna Zigler


Sources:

https://draxe.com/6-natural-treatments-macular-degeneration/

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/age-related-macular-degeneration-1126.html/

http://www.amd.org/can-diet-and-vitamins-help-macular-degeneration/

https://examine.com/supplements/taurine/

Avastin: Reliable Vision Improvement For AMD Patients

Avastin: Reliable Vision Improvement For AMD Patients 0

Avastin: Reliable Vision Improvement For AMD Patients

The wet type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which occurs when the disease has progressed from the dry type, is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The drug Avastin is used to treat the wet type of macular degeneration. According to amd.org, “Avastin was developed by Genentech to treat colon cancer. It uses the same antiangiogenic approach to stop the growth of blood vessels to the cancer tumor.”

What is Avastin?

Avastin is the brand name for “bevacizumab,” a drug injected into the eye in order to slow vision loss in people who have wet AMD. Avastin is part of a class of drugs that block the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which are the cause of wet AMD. Avastin is also used to treat macular edema, swelling of the macula, which is often associated with diabetic retinopathy. Since Avastin was approved as a cancer treatment, this use of the drug is considered “off-label” use but this is permissible if a drug is demonstrated to be effective for treating other diseases.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, when asked about the risks of injecting Avastin into the eyes to treat AMD, Dr. Richard Bensinger responded, “Avastin has been a terrific improvement in the treatment of wet macular edema and bleeding as well as new disease states of the eye, which seem to be introduced each day.” The list of potential side effects is long and concerning, as with any cancer treatment, but the amount used to treat the eye is very small, also reducing the risks of side effects.

What are the side effects of Avastin?

Avastin can cause infection in the eye as well as bleeding and inflammation, but these are uncommon. It can also cause the pressure in the eye to rise as well as increase the risk of cataracts but again, these occurrences are rare.

In addition to Avastin, there is another drug frequently prescribed called Lucentis (ranibizumab). It received FDA approval in late June 2006 and the new macular degeneration drug was celebrated as a major breakthrough. Many Americans with the more severe or wet forms of AMD endure gradual loss of central vision. In clinical trials Lucentis has been shown to stop and, in many cases, reverse at least some vision loss. These findings clearly indicate Lucentis is the most effective FDA-approved treatment currently available for AMD.

But some eye doctors suggest that Avastin remains just as effective and is a more realistic option for lower-income people with advanced AMD. The issue remains that Avastin is approved by the FDA only for treatment of colon and other cancers, but not for AMD. Many eye doctors have been using Avastin off-label to treat advanced AMD. Like any treatment plan, one should investigate not only the available options but the risks and side effects of each option in order to make the most informed decisions. Do you suffer from AMD? Have you undergone injections to treat it?


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler 

Other Macular Degeneration articles by Dr. Zigler: Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and LifestyleHow Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration?

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