Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMR) is the leading cause of severe loss of central vision in older people. As people are living longer, it is important not to find that the body is surviving but the vision is not. It’s never too early to act to preserve your eyesight.
AMD is a chronic disease of the retina that causes loss of central vision. AMD affects the macula, the area of the retina at the back of the eye responsible for fine visual detail – so this is what is lost with this condition.
The primary risk factor for AMD is age. A family history of AMD, female sex, and white race are additional risk factors for AMD.
Modifiable risk factors include smoking, obesity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, excessive sun exposure, and a diet deficient in fruits and vegetables – correcting these conditions, along with special supplementation is the thrust of prevention.
Dry macular degenerative changes usually occur slowly over time. Loss of vision in poor light, increased blurriness of printed words, decrease in brightness of colors, or a blurred or blind spot in the center of the field of vision.
Wet AMD – changes occur rapidly, resulting in an abrupt decline in central vision. There can be abrupt visual change as visual distortions, such as straight lines appearing wavy or objects appearing larger or smaller than they are.
Depends on both the type and severity.
Early AMD - low 5-year risk for progression to advanced AMD. No treatment needed, but must be regularly monitored by an eye specialist.
Intermediate AMD - increased risk for progression to advanced AMD over 5 years. Supplementation with antioxidants and zinc can reduce this risk by 25%.
Advanced AMD in one eye - risk of progression to advanced disease in the other eye can be reduced by taking antioxidant and zinc supplements.
Wet AMD – the growth of unwanted, extra blood vessels can be stopped from growing with speclal antiangiogenesis drugs injected directly into the vitreous cavity of the eye.
These molecules are bind to the blood blood vessel growth factors that cause the problem, but unfortunately they cannot reverse the break in the foundational membrane at the back of the eye called the basement membrane. This is why there should continue to be regular monitoring and repeat treatments.
Research for more drugs to help AMD is happening now.
Low levels of B12 and other B vitamins like B6 and Folic acid should be corrected. These B vitamins and AMD have a connection.
Reducing inflammation helps reduce AMD. Testing CRP as a marker of inflammation can be a guide.
Omega 3 fish oil / or Fish consumption at least twice per week has been associated with a lowered risk of AMD.
Daily aspirin has been associated with a lowered risk of AMD.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoid antioxidants that can be taken as supplements or in food. They are associated with reduction in AMD.
Macular Degeneration – Save Your Sight PDF (299KB)
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