Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) And What You Must Know
This month, February 2022, we will discuss AMD (Age-related macular degeneration). We want to make sure that you have important information to help you keep your eyes healthy in 2022, AMD is an eye disease that impacts central vision causing blurry vision. This happens due to aging which causes damage to the macula, the part of the eye that controls sharp, straight-ahead vision. The macula is part of the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye). Eating healthy can help with managing AMD. Lutein is a yellow pigment with high quantities of it naturally occurring in green leafy vegetables and some other plants. Lutein is specifically absorbed into the eye macula. Studies have found that lutein supplementation may delay age-related macular degeneration. Below are key points about AMD:
- Eight to seven percent of the worldwide population has age-related macular degeneration
- There were approximately 196 million in 2020, increasing to 288 million in 2040 (National Library of Medicine).
- AMD is very common — 11 million people in the United States have it
- Late AMD can happen in 1 or both eyes
- Having late AMD in 1 eye puts you at higher risk of developing late AMD in your other eye
- A leading cause of vision loss for older adults.
- AMD doesn’t cause complete blindness but losing your central vision can make it harder to see faces, read, drive, or do close-up work like cooking or fixing things around the house.
- AMD happens very slowly in some people and faster in others.
- With an early stage of AMD, you may not notice vision loss for a long time.
AMD Types and Stages
- Dry and Wet are the two types of AMD.
- Dry AMD, atrophic AMD, is the most common type.
- This is when the macula gets thinner with age.
- There are three stages of Dry AMD: early, intermediate, and late.
- There is currently no treatment for late dry AMD. However, you can identify ways to maximize your vision.
- Wet AMD, neovascular AMD, is a less common type.
- Late AMD causes faster vision loss.
- Any stage of Dry AMD can turn into wet AMD
- Wet AMD is always the late stage. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow in the back of the eye and damage the macula.
- There are treatment options available for wet AMD.
AMD symptoms are related to three-stage; early, intermediate, and late. AMD is a progressive disease, and therefore, the symptoms can generally get worse over time.
- Early dry AMD doesn’t cause any symptoms.
- In intermediate dry AMD, some people still have no symptoms. Others may notice mild symptoms, like mild blurriness in their central vision or trouble seeing in low lighting.
- In late AMD (wet or dry type), many people notice that straight lines start to look wavy or crooked. You may also notice a blurry area near the center of your vision. Over time, this blurry area may get bigger or you may see blank spots. Colors may also seem less bright than before, and you may have more trouble seeing in low lighting.
What You Should Do
- Contact our office immediately if you are experiencing AMD symptoms
- Stop smoking
- Get regular physical activity
- Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Eat healthy foods, including leafy green vegetables and fish
- Studies have shown that diets high in dietary intakes of omega 3 fatty acids, and macular xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin have been associated with a lower risk of prevalent and incident AMD
- Other studies have shown vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, and zinc with copper also can help reduce AMD symptoms.
- Nutritional supplements, taken every day, may help lower their risk of getting late-stage or wet AMD. (aao.org):
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 500 mg.
- Vitamin E 400 international units (IU)
- Lutein 10 mg.
- Zeaxanthin 2 mg.
- Zinc (as zinc oxide) 80 mg.
- Copper (as cupric oxide) 2 mg.
It is important to note that late AMD is present as neovascular and atrophic forms in which they can coexist. The defining lesions are macular neovascularization and geographic atrophy, respectively. At this stage, visual symptoms are often severe and irreversible and can comprise profoundly reduce central vision in both eyes.
You must contact us immediately if you are experiencing AMD symptoms as well as consult with your doctor first before taking nutritional supplements.