What is Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
AMD is a condition resulting from genetic, lifestile and environmental factors (e.g. light and oxygen). It is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50, affecting approximately 35% of people over the age of 75.
AMD is a particularly frustrating disease because it results in a loss of central vision; in other words, someone with AMD can see everything except what he or she is directly looking at and is therefore unable to read, watch tv, recognise faces or drive, dramatically reducing a persons overall quality of life.
AMD affects the macula, the central part of the retina in the eye responsible for clear vision. The optometrist will be able to see signs of AMD before they present themselves, so it is important to be checked regularly. The main symptom of AMD once it reaches a stage where it affects what you see, is dim or fuzzy central vision.
Ideally, we want to avoid this for as long as possible.
What Causes AMD
Free radicals within the retina lead to significant damages to the delicate structure of the eye. Free radicals are simply unstable molecules created from the effects of blue light (found in sunlight & indoor lighting) and oxidation within the retina. Because we use oxygen to live and because we are currently exposed to blue visible light, the damage caused is unavoidable.
Am I at risk?
The highest risk individuals are smokers, those over 50 years of age and those with a family history of macular degeneration.
Other factors include obesity, high colesterol, high blood pressure, poor diet lacking in anti-oxidants, low macular pigment level, light iris colour, female and pale skin.
What can I do?
Improve your diet - Eat more fruit and vegetables especially bright coloured ones like spinach, peppers, corn and grapes Eat more fish and shellfish such as mackerel, tuna, shrimp and oysters.
Control your colesterol and blood pressure levels.
Wear Sunglasses - Protecting your eyes from damaging light by wearing apporved UV absorbing sunglasses or photocromic
lenses when outside.
Do more exercise - Control your weight and BMI.
Stop smoking or at least cut down - Smoking inhibits the anti-oxidants that protect against the free radicals that cause AMD.
Take Dietary suppliments to boost your levels of anti-oxidants and macular pigment - Such as Macushield
Macushield contains Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin (MZ).
Meso-Zeaxanthin is not found in a typical diet, but is uniquely important for macular health. The body normally converts Lutein to MZ at the retina. MZ is only found at the centre of the macula where vision is sharpest. Its presence results in the filteration of a wider range of damaging blue light and also acts as a powerful antioxant at the macula.
Lutein and Zeanthin is found in green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. They are also antioxidants and are also capable of filtering blue light.
New scientific research has found that supplementing with all three macular carotenoids has resulted in the body taking up these vital compounds, and macular pigment levels being maintained.
Macushield is a unique patented blend of all three macular pigments and comes in soft gel capsules.
Scientific research, ongoing at the Macular Pigment Research Centre, in Waterford, Ireland, the largest research centre in Europe, shows that people taking a supplement of Meso-Z have re-pigmented by up to 40% in 140 days. To read the fascinating story of retired optician Harry Marsland click on the link below.