Preventative Guide For Macular Degeneration

 Image - Pinterest

Image - Pinterest

Macular degeneration is an eye disorder that, over time, affects vision. Cells in the retina begin to change,  causing images that usually appear clear and sharp to become blurred. As degeneration progresses, vision becomes distorted, enlarged, cloudy, dark, or spotted. The disorder generally affects people over 60 years of age, and is often referred to as AMD - age-related macular degeneration. Macular degeneration comes in two forms: wet and dry. The dry form is more common and more severe, often leading to vision loss.

 

Symptoms of macular degeneration vary from person to person. They can include:

 

Blurred vision when looking straight ahead

An increase in the size of blurriness over time

Some spots in one’s vision appear blank

Straight lines become curved or distorted

Colors become darker or less bright and vivid

Trouble with familiar activities, such as reading, making out faces, writing, typing or driving

In advanced cases, vision can be completely lost, and permanent blindness can occur


PREVENTION

 

Nutrition

Consume lots of green foods: dark leafy green vegetables that are rich in carotenoids will aid in the prevention of macular degeneration.

 

Carotenoid-rich foods to include in your diet: carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, kale, and collard greens.

 

Consume a high antioxidant diet: Free radical damage (or oxidative stress) can cause significant degeneration of cells and nerves in the retina and macula of the eye. Antioxidants protect against free radical damage and slow down the progression of macular degeneration.

 

Foods high in antioxidants include: brightly colored orange and yellow vegetables (squash, carrots, sweet potatoes), berries, and citrus fruits. To get a wide variety of antioxidants, eat a wide range of different colored fruits and vegetables. Drink carrot juice for a strong daily dose plus consume blueberries as often as possible.

 

Eat more wild-caught fish: The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish help to relieve intra-ocular pressure and protect the eyes from developing macular degeneration. Those who consume adequate amounts of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids specifically receive protection against “wet” macular degeneration.

Other sources of efa’s include: walnuts, flax seed, olive oil, anchovies, sardines, cod liver oil

Drink plenty of water: Getting adequate amounts of water a day is essential for flushing out any debris from the eye that can be causing damage. Adding lemon to water is a great way to create variety and get adequate amounts.

 

High-fiber foods: Fiber is crucial for getting toxins out of the body, maintaining gut health, increasing nutrient absorption, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Foods with high amounts of fiber: soaked beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and sprouted/soaked grains.

Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption: Both of these substances can reduce blood flow to the eyes, and contribute to body toxicity levels that can cause eye problems and dehydrated eyes.


Supplements

Take a multivitamin and mineral: It’s often difficult to obtain all the required nutrients for general health and eye health from the diet alone. Ideally, your multi should contain the vitamins and minerals that have a direct benefit for eye health, which include lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, vitamin A, and copper.

Bilberry: The anthocyanoside content will help improve blood flow to the eyes. It also contains flavonoids that support eye function. Take 2 x daily.

Omega 3 600 milligrams of EPA and 400 milligrams DHA - take 1,000 mg daily in the form of fish or cod liver oil.

Tocotreniols- Rich in Vit E. Take 1-2 x daily.


Lifestyle

 

Stop smoking: If you currently smoke, begin weaning off immediately. If you do not smoke, do not start. Cigarettes contain high amounts of toxic chemicals that increase inflammation, damage healthy tissue and cells, and contribute to nerve damage and vision loss.

 

Exercise regularly: Consistent exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight preserve vision because they reduce significant risk factors for developing eye damage. The risk factors are high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol.

 

Protect your eyes from the sun: To protect your eyes from overexposure to UV rays, wear sunglasses and a hat when outdoors or driving. Try to avoid looking directly into the sun, especially when it is strongest between 10 am and 2 pm.

 

Take electronic device breaks: If you work on the computer, watch T.V or use your cell phone for long periods of time, give your eyes a rest every 20 minutes to reduce eye strain. For further protection, consider avoiding blue-light devices (screens) close to bedtime or where blue-light blocking goggles before bed.