Not long ago, I wrote a post titled Do You Know How to Save Your Vision? which gave a brief overview of five vision problems. The last one on the list was macular degeneration. Not exactly an exciting topic, but it’s important to me because my father had it and now one of my siblings does, too. I’m concerned about getting it, but grateful to know how to help keep my eyes healthy!
Definition of Macular Degeneration (AMD)
So what is age related macular degeneration? In my previous post it was described this way: “…a chronic eye disease that causes the deterioration of the macula (center of your retina) which is the layer of tissue on the inside back wall of your eyeball.”
AMD affects millions of people. There are two different types of age-related macular degeneration – dry and wet.
Dry macular degeneration affects 80 – 90 % of the population who have AMD. It’s also known as the atrophic type. VisionAware.org describes it this way: “…small white or yellowish deposits, called drusen, form on the retina, beneath the macula, causing it to deteriorate or degenerate over time.”
Wet macular degeneration is defined as: “Abnormal blood vessels under the retina that begin to grow toward the macula. Because these new blood vessels are abnormal, they tend to break, bleed, and leak fluid, damaging the macula and causing it to lift up and pull away from its base. This can result in a rapid and severe loss of central vision.”
Symptoms of Age-related Macular Degeneration
- Straight lines start to appear distorted, or the center of vision becomes distorted
- Dark, blurry areas or white out appears in the center of vision
- Diminished or changed color perception / Decrease in the intensity or brightness of colors
- Increasing difficulty adapting to low light levels (for example: entering a dimly lit restaurant)
- Increased blurriness of printed words
- Decrease in the intensity or brightness of colors
- Difficulty recognizing faces
- Your central or overall vision becomes more hazy
- Hallucinations of geometric shapes or people (this is found most in cases of advanced macular degeneration)
- A blurred or blind spot in the center of your field of vision
Risk Factors for AMD
If you’re wondering what puts you at risk for AMD – check this out:
- Family history
- High blood pressure
- Being aged 60 years and older
- Nutrient deficiencies – especially of vitamins A, C and E.
- Women get AMD more than men
- Race – Caucasians are more susceptible to AMD
Remember, you can control some of these risk factors!
Can AMD Be Prevented?
Possibly, yes! While we can’t stop the years from passing, we can take necessary steps to stop the aging process from taking its toll on our health – and in this case, on our vision.
Here are some quick tips to keep AMD away:
- Lose weight
- Stop smoking
- Change your diet – especially if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Get off the carbs and processed foods – elevated blood sugar levels are a health hazard for so many reasons. I suggest you read the book Wheat Belly – it will help you understand the “why” behind all this. This article from JoyBauer.com, How Food Affects Macular Degeneration will give you insight (no pun intended!) on how you can fight this age-related eye disease with food. She even has a Smooth-See recipe!
- If eating healthy is a problem, take a good supplement that will give you the vitamins A, C, and E, you need to support your vision. We have two excellent products which contain their own powerful combinations of antioxidants, botanicals, and minerals, that are designed to protect and support the macula. They are: Macular Support Formula from Pure Encapsulations and Macushield from Douglas Laboratories.
Your eyesight is too important to neglect – take care of your eyes now!
If you’re doing something to combat macular degeneration would you share it with us please?
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