Age-related macular degeneration is a very common and dreaded disease of our senior years which may lead to irreparable vision loss. This acquired retinal disease affects millions of elderly adults. It can cause loss of the ability to see details, causing blurry vision and possibly legal blindness. Despite the social costs that include depression and loss of interest in activities, and the societal health costs including retina eye surgery, many people are unaware that new research has proven that vitamin supplements for macular degeneration can halt the progress of this disease, and in some cases, actually improve vision.
Over 90% of macular degeneration cases are diagnosed as dry non bleeding macular degeneration. Seen most commonly in those aged 50 and older and its prevalence gets worse with age. A healthy central retina or macula is necessary for all accurate vision. Degeneration of this important aspect of the retina causes permanent reduction in vision. The fact is dry macular degeneration starts slowly and as a result many people attribute their vision loss to the natural aging process. Early detection and treatment is key to slowing its effects. There is no cure, but studies show that macular degeneration supplements work to help slow the loss due to macular degeneration. There have been many causes identified such as age, heredity, nutrition, smoking, and sunlight. Sufferers report seeing blind spots, which affect their driving and reading abilities. Failure to treat dry macular degeneration can result in permanent blind spots and chronic eye irritation.
As America’s baby boomers age, dry macular degeneration has been in the news quite a bit lately. It’s difficult to find the true facts on but our info links from AOA and all about vision include more on this topic.The retina is known to be particularly susceptible to oxidative stress as its need for oxygen is large, it is exposed to high levels of light and its membranes have high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids which are readily oxidized. Consequently, much interest has centered on studying the effects of antioxidants as a possible means of preventing the development of age-related macular degeneration.
The National Institutes of Health recently published the Age Related Eye Disease Study, or (AREDS-2). The AREDS-2 found that taking eye vitamins containing high doses of anti-oxidants and zinc minimized the progression of macular degeneration by 25%. AREDS-2 new formula included 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin (1 tablet) 350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA (2 soft-gel capsules). In addition the June 2008 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology indicated long-chain omega-3 essential fatty acids were shown in a study performed by researchers in Australia and Singapore to prevent the development of macular degeneration in people age 49 years or older. Since then it has been recommended that 1000mg of omega three oils or krill oil be added to the daily diet.
While sadly there is no cure for dry macular degeneration studies have shown that the specific vitamins and supplements can slow the effects of dry macular degeneration. It starts with a detailed evaluation of your retina. Dr Vincent Facchiano OD FAAO recommends that you ask your optometrist to do a dilated eye exam each year and evaluate the central retina area with HD digital images. In some cases specialized visual fields will be ordered and special laser OCT scans will be used to detect the cause of early macular vision loss. Early detection is important. For healthy eyes Dr Facchiano recommends that you protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet light with sunglasses when outdoors and ask your optometrist if there is a vitamin and supplement program that is right for you.