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
- Tags: aid in eye health AMD Dr. Jenna Zigler dry eye eye care eye conditions eye health eye love eye problems fish oil key nutrients Macular Degeneration ocular health formula Omega 3 fatty acids reversing macular degeneration slow vision loss symptoms of macular degeneration vision loss vitamins
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
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.
Did you enjoy this quick tip? We’d love to start sharing more, so give us some love in the comments below!
Dr. Jenna Zigler
Macular Degeneration or Macular Hole? What’s the Difference? 0
Macular Degeneration or Macular Hole? What’s the Difference?
Many people each year go blind or have severely impaired vision as a result of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a progressive eye disease, mostly associated with age, that affects millions of Americans each year. In fact, it’s the leading cause of vision loss for senior citizens in America.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration occurs in the macula, the region at the center of the eye’s retina. It’s the part of the eye that responds most readily to light and allows the eye to focus precisely on small regions, such as the print on a book or the pixels on a phone screen. The pigmentary cells in the macula deteriorate and break apart, leading to the buildup of a substance called drusen in the eye which impedes clear vision. Because the macula is closely associated with precise focus, you may still be able to see quite well on the periphery even as the macula breaks down.
Macular degeneration is simply the progressive breakdown of the macula over time, stemming from this “clogging” effect as drusen builds up within the eye. In contrast, macular hole is a more distinct problem. As the name implies, it is literally a hole that develops in the macula. It can begin as the result of trauma or disease, but like macular degeneration — it generally begins simply as the result of aging.
An explanation of Macular Holes
Unlike macular degeneration, which starts in the macula, a macular hole actually begins in the vitreous body, which is the “jelly” that fills your eye. As you age, the vitreous body naturally contracts over time, stressing the fibers that connect it to the retina. In addition, these miniscule fibers can break down, allowing the vitreous to move more than it should. The combination of vitreous shrinkage and degradation of the connective fibers can actually pull the vitreous body far enough away from the macula to create a small tear in the macula itself. This tear typically develops first into a macular cyst and then, if left untreated, progresses to a macular hole.
A small fraction of macular holes will actually heal themselves; for the rest, treatment typically involves a surgery called vitrectomy. In this procedure, the vitreous body is actually severed from the eye and replaced with an artificial vitreous “bubble.” This bubble presses against the macula, sealing the macular hole and enabling it to heal. As the macula heals, the eye’s cavity will refill itself with fluid and the bubble will naturally be absorbed by the eye. This process will require the patient to lie face-down for anywhere from two days to three weeks. Yikes! As you can tell, this is an extensive procedure and will only be performed if vision loss is severe. Because this is a progressive problem that can lead to serious vision impairment or loss, it’s important to discuss any vision issues quickly with your doctor if you suspect you may be developing a macular hole.
Have you ever experienced a macular hole? What did you notice?
Dr. Jenna Zigler