Listening to a professional or reading about AMD from the comfort of your home or car is the perfect way to learn about the condition and act.

Five Books and Podcasts About AMD

Written by MacuHealth

There are plenty of podcasts and books to help you learn more about age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease prevalent in those over 50 that affects the area of the retina called the macula. It’s the part of our eye that affects our direct line of sight. 

Books and podcasts are a great way to learn more about AMD, and listening to a professional or reading about it from the comfort of your home or car is the perfect way to learn about the condition and act. Below are some books and podcasts we recommend that can offer insights into adapting your life to the disease.

My MacD Life​

Many podcasts that focus on AMD talk about the science behind the disease but not the patient experience. The co-hosts of My MacD Life speak with doctors, caregivers and patients about their encounters with AMD’s symptoms and offer encouraging viewpoints. The SupportSight Foundation’s founder and executive director, Dawn Prall, and professional speaker, trainer and book author Shawn Doyle also share the latest developments in AMD research. Even if you don’t have AMD yourself, there’s plenty of inspiration and knowledge to go around in each episode, and most of them run no longer than an hour. 

Open Your Eyes with Dr. Kerry Gelb​

In the companion podcast to the hit documentary of the same name, optometrist Dr. Kerry Gelb interviews peers, scientists, journalists and other experts on the decline of health in the last few decades and how eye health is connected to that drop. Open Your Eyes currently holds the title of the top optometry podcast largely because listeners are taken in by Dr. Gelb’s curious nature with his array of guests. Some episodes focus on the link between AMD and nutrition, but others focus on glaucoma, eye surgery and diabetes. (Editor’s note: MacuHealth is a sponsor of this podcast.) 

Studio 1​

The guests on this award-winning weekly podcast from Vision Australia Radio prove that living with low vision and blindness is not a death sentence. Journalist Matthew Layton talks with a range of celebrities, experts and other extraordinary guests who’ve overcome their disabilities to achieve extraordinary things, including competing in the Paralympics, climbing Mount Everest, studying astronomy or helping others. In addition, Layton speaks to researchers and advocates making tremendous strides in the fields of optometry and vision restoration.

Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing Your Sight

Most patients are unaware of AMD’s existence when they’re diagnosed with it. This lack of knowledge leaves them scared and frustrated. Dr. Lylas Mogk, the founding director of the Visual Rehabilitation and Research Center of the Henry Ford Health System, understands this feeling. She co-wrote this easy-to-understand book to reassure AMD sufferers the disease is manageable. In addition to first-person accounts from patients, there are tips on how to manage the feelings of depression after a diagnosis, disease symptoms, and the latest information on treatments. Consider it an instruction manual on how AMD patients can live life to the fullest.

Eat Right for Your Sight

Aside from taking MacuHealth, any doctor will tell you that a diet rich in leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables will help rebuild the macular pigment in your eyes. But let’s face it, you’re not going to eat steamed spinach and Brussel sprouts every night. This cookbook, written by Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M. Seddon, M.D. for The American Macular Degeneration Foundation, has delicious, easy-to-make meals to help support your diet and eyesight. It even includes several tips on how to prepare food to get the most nutrients out of each ingredient.   

MacuHealth offers two Triple Carotenoid Formulas for patients diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Learn the differences between the two to know which one is right for you.

AMD

Written by MacuHealth

Macular carotenoid eye supplements are not only a great way to give the macula the nutrients it needs to enhance your vision, but they can also help improve the eyesight of those diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  

MacuHealth has two products designed to meet your eye care needs: MacuHealth and MacuHealth Plus+. However, it can be unclear to know which one is right for you.  

MacuHealth

MacuHealth is perfect for those with early dry AMD symptoms, have a family history of the disease or want to improve their general eye health. Our Triple Carotenoid Formula, which contains a patented 10:10:2 mg ratio of Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin, is proven to provide far superior results than using Lutein and Zeaxanthin alone.1 MacuHealth gives you exactly what you need in just one softgel and nothing you don’t.

MacuHealth Plus+

Your eye care professional may be more comfortable prescribing an AREDS2 formulation. These are based on clinical trials conducted by the National Eye Institute in 2006, and since then, many more formulations have been created. MacuHealth Plus+ is an AREDS2 formula with two distinct differences: it contains 25 mg of zinc, which is under the daily tolerable limit of 40 mg, as established by the National Institutes of Health, and is fortified with all three macular carotenoids: Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin, and Zeaxanthin. 

To further assist you in choosing the right supplement, we’ve prepared this chart below to help familiarize you with the features of MacuHealth and MacuHealth Plus+.  

Flyer MacuHealth vs MacuHealth Plus+

References

1. Li et al. 2010. doi:10.1016/j.abb.2010.07.024 

AMD

Most people will benefit from enriching and maximizing their macular pigment throughout their lifetime. Macular pigment is constantly being used up as it quenches free radicals to protect the macula from oxidation. We are living longer, our diets are lower in nutrients, and we are exposed to greater amounts of blue light, so it is very important to continually replenish our macular pigment.

Continually enriching macular pigment provides two main benefits to everyone:

  1. Macular pigment is nature’s anti-oxidant protecting our macula from damage from oxidation throughout our life
  2. Macular pigment naturally filters blue light resulting in improving and optimizing our vision when young and healthy and when macular disease is present

Although everyone can benefit from enriching macular pigment, the following people will benefit the greatest:

Children and Young Adults

Children and young adults are more susceptible damage from high energy blue light than adults in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Blue light is emitted by our computers, tablets, smart phones and from energy efficient fluorescent lights. Our children and students lives revolve around these devices and they are using these devices a significant amount of time each day. In addition, many of these devices are held close to our faces so the intensity of blue light is higher.

Pre- and Post-Cataract Patients

Post cataract patients have had their crystalline lens removed and replaced with an intra-ocular lens. Cataracts typically are found in the elderly. Once the lens of the eye is removed the yellowing of this lens as we age is also removed. This yellowing in our lens as we age is called ocular lens pigment which is also a natural blue light filter. Once the cataract is removed the lens of the eye goes back to its clear child-like form making the macula more susceptible to blue light.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Patients diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD)a disease with no cure, have significantly increased risk of blindness as the disease progresses. Enriching macular pigment can help save the vision in the diseased eye and possibly delay the onset of the disease in the other eye.

Furthermore, family members of those diagnosed with AMD are at higher risk of developing the disease. Family history and genetics are the greatest risk factors for developing AMD. Therefore, if one of your parents, your grandparents or a sibling has the disease, your risk of disease onset is also greater.

Visually Demanding Careers

People with occupations that have critical vision requirementsEnriching and maximizing macular pigment will optimize vision for athletes, military and police.

AMD

The macula or macula lutea (“yellow spot” in Latin) is an oval yellow area near the center of the retina of the human eye.

At the center of the macula is the fovea; with the highest concentration of cone cells (photo-receptor cells) in the retina and is responsible for our detailed central vision. Central vision can be defined as your vision when reading a book or when looking directly at an object or someone’s face. It allows you to discern fine details, contrast and color.

The macula is shielded by an important and naturally occurring protective substance known as the macular pigment (MP). MP comes entirely from dietary origin, and is made of three carotenoids called lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin (L, Z & MZ). These three carotenoids are found in equal amounts at the macula, (shown below in the bulls-eye pattern below) with MZ being the dominant carotenoid at the epicenter of the macula (fovea) where our vision is sharpest.

Meso-Zeaxanthin

The most potent of the three antioxidants. It is found at the very center of the macula, the fovea, which is the epicenter of our central vision. This part of the eye has the highest density of photoreceptors (cones) and the highest light exposure. Therefore, the tissue at the most risk is protected by the strongest of the three antioxidants. Studies have shown that supplementation with Meso-Zeaxanthin has resulted in increased levels of macular pigment optical density.

Lutein

The protective role of lutein in the eye stems from its ability to filter short wavelengths of visible blue light, function as an antioxidant and stabilize membrane integrity. These functions are believed to play an important role in reducing light-induced oxidative damage which can lead to age-related degenerative disease such as age-related macular degeneration and cataract.

Zeaxanthin

The role played by the powerful antioxidant zeaxanthin in the eye is to sharpen central vision (the clearness with which objects stand out from their surroundings), reduce the effects of glare (blue light) and maintain healthy visual acuity. Zeaxanthin is also found in the brain and other organs. Zeaxanthin along with Meso-Zeaxanthin protects retinal tissue by absorbing similar wavelengths of high energy light.

macular pigment

It is no accident that nature has taken the trouble to give humans the ability to accumulate these three dietary compounds at the very center of the retina, where vision is sharpest, where color vision is processed, and where oxidative stress is maximum. Macular pigment limits oxidative injury at the retina by limiting the amount of short wavelength (blue) visible light incident upon the photoreceptors (irradiation with short wavelength light is known to promote free radical production), and also because its constituent carotenoids are effective scavengers of free radicals (i.e. antioxidants, just like vitamin C). However, it is important to realize that the collective antioxidant effect of the macular carotenoids is maximized when they (L, Z and MZ) are taken together in a supplement.

Macular pigment cannot be taken for granted. Humans do not have the ability to manufacture carotenoids, only plants produce them. Macular pigment starts developing in utero and comes from the nutrients found in the mother’s diet. As we grow and develop, MP continues to replenish itself from the nutrients in our diets. However, our diets today tend to be devoid in these critical nutrients due to a significant increase in processed foods, over farming and shortened harvest cycles. Since the western diet, even a healthy diet, does not provide for enough of these critical nutrients to protect our vision from oxidation over our lifetime, we must consider supplementation with all three of the critical carotenoids found in MacuHealth with LMZ.

While there is currently no cure for this disease, there are many ways to adapt your life to its symptoms. We’ll share what you can expect when diagnosed with AMD and illustrate how it doesn’t have to change your quality of life.

AMD

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

A diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be a shock.  But after that feeling goes away, a fear of the unknown lingers. Many with the disease believe that having AMD means their independence will end, and they’ll lose control of their lives.

AMD is a progressive disease, and although it can lead to distortions in eyesight and central vision loss, “the majority of [AMD] patients will not lose vision,” stated Dr. Peter Kaiser of the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic on the podcast Retina Health for Life, which is put out by the American Society of Retina Specialists.

The condition does affect everyone differently. While there is currently no cure for this disease, there are many ways to adapt your life to its symptoms. We’ll share what you can expect when diagnosed with AMD and illustrate how it doesn’t have to change your quality of life.

How AMD Can Change Your Vision

It’s essential to learn what AMD is before we understand how it affects those it afflicts. The disease causes one’s central vision to erode, and there are two stages: dry and wet. Dry Macular Degeneration, or early AMD, is characterized by the accumulation of debris and mild deterioration of the macula, located in the center of the retina.

Wet Macular Degeneration, or late-stage AMD, is so named because of the leaky blood vessels that occur underneath the macula and in the back of the eye, possibly leading to sub-retinal swelling, retinal damage and degeneration and central visual blindness.

Some symptoms you might experience are:

  • A blurred or blind spot in the center of your vision
  • Difficulty adjusting your eyes in low-lit areas
  • Struggling to read printed material, even when using reading glasses
  • Difficulty visually recognizing faces
  • Reduced ability to distinguish objects from their background

While these symptoms are frustrating, many patients can usually go about their typical day. Adapting to AMD involves some simple adjustments to ensure visual performance. For dry AMD patients, this includes using brighter lighting throughout the house and that objects, such as light switches, have high contrast from their backgrounds.  For later stages of the disease, reading from large-print books and maintaining clear navigation paths around the house may be necessary.

The Part of AMD You Can’t Control

When patients receive their diagnosis, they often wonder if there’s anything they can do to restore their vision. Although there are a few ways to slow (or perhaps even stop) the progression (see below), unfortunately, AMD is mostly irreversible. When the disease is in its dry form, a material called drusen forms under the macula. This substance is what causes central vision to worsen, leading to atrophy in the retina.

Around 10 to 15 percent of dry AMD patients will progress to the more severe wet stage of the disease. Blood vessels leak underneath the macula, causing further damage and vision loss.

The Parts of AMD You Can Control

Sadly, AMD symptoms won’t go away. But managing them doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are some ways to make life with AMD easier.

Visit your eye doctor regularly.

It may seem obvious, but regular appointments with your optometrist for an exam will help give them and you an idea of how your condition is progressing and whether they may need to intervene with special treatment. Eye care professionals have many tools to track AMD, such as OCT, Dark Adaptation testing, and special photography (called “Fundus Photography”). These tools are extremely important in terms of maintaining as much sight as is possible.

Your eye doctor may also have you look at an Amsler grid, a series of straight horizontal and vertical lines. If the lines appear wavy, this can help gauge if the disease is progressing from dry AMD to the wet stage. Your doctor can keep you up to date on new procedures and even recommend some in-house treatments, such as laser therapy or vision aids, that enhance your eyesight.

Educate yourself.

As your doctor learns more about the latest AMD news, you can do some research on your own (research is what likely led you to our site). There are numerous reputable at your fingertips. Not only will reading up on the disease help you learn how to manage it better, but you may also feel something you haven’t felt since you received your diagnosis: hope.

Create a support team.

In addition to your eye doctor, you’re not only going to need the help of specialists and counselors, but you’ll need the support of friends and family to help you adapt to AMD. Share with them what you are going through and encourage them to learn about the disease to help them understand how it affects you. To boost your mental well-being, search for online support groups on social networks and websites to help answer any questions that your doctor might be unable to.

Feed your eyes.

There is exciting new research suggesting that nutrition plays a critical role in battling AMD. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet will not only boost your mood, but they’re also rich in antioxidants, including carotenoids – specifically Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-Zeaxanthin – which are particularly effective. They’re clinically proven to replenish macular pigment levels and improve vision in AMD patients, as well as protect eyes from the harmful blue light that comes from sunlight and electronic devices.

While there currently isn’t a cure for AMD, researchers are developing new ways for those who have it to cope with and treat its symptoms.

AMD

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

It can be terrifying and confusing when you find out you have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but it doesn’t have to lead to a decline in your quality of life. Most people with AMD (roughly 90 percent) have the early, dry form of the disease, which often isn’t severe – so one can still read, drive their car and run errands just as they did before a doctor diagnosed the condition. The late-stage, so-called “wet macular degeneration” accounts for approximately 10 percent of cases but results in 90 percent legal blindness.

While there currently isn’t a cure for AMD, researchers are developing new ways for those who have it to cope with and treat its symptoms. For the late stage “wet” form of AMD, ocular injections can slow down vision loss. To prevent progression to the wet form, supplementation with crucial nutrients may offer hope. These supplements, which contain the three macular carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin), rebuild macular pigment, protecting the part of the retina responsible for central vision. Let’s look at some of the treatments for this ocular disease, as well as some changes you can make in your life to manage and prevent AMD.

In-Office Treatments

­There are some extensive and invasive treatments for the wet stage of macular degeneration, which occurs when new blood vessels grow underneath the macula, the part of the retina that facilitates central vision. Fluid or blood starts to leak into and obstruct your line of sight. Several drugs and therapies have been developed to block vessels or prevent new ones from forming in the eye. We’ve shared several of them below.

Injections

Doctors typically inject Avastin or other anti-angiogenic drugs into the eye of patients with the wet form of AMD to block the growth of blood vessels. They’re effective in helping people regain lost vision but must be repeated regularly to maintain vision levels.

Laser Therapy

Another method that a doctor may use is high-energy laser therapy. It works by shining a powerful light into the eye to destroy any irregularly growing blood vessels in the retina. There is even a two-step treatment that utilizes a drug the doctor injects into the bloodstream. When the laser is shined into the eye, the drug is activated, causing the blockage of abnormally growing blood vessels in the retina.

Vision Aids

There are also eyeglasses and other devices that make images easier to see. Some doctors can even insert a device into the eye called an implantable miniature telescope, which will magnify and enhance the sight of those with advanced AMD.

Supplements and AMD Prevention

The best way to prevent and manage AMD symptoms is to visit your eye doctor regularly, especially if you have a history of vision issues in your family. In addition to a typical eye exam, your optometrist will check for the disease by having you look at an Amsler grid, a series of straight horizontal and vertical lines. If any of the lines appear wavy, this is a sign that you may be developing AMD.

Another easy way to help prevent and manage the disease is to wear sunglasses and, if you’re a smoker, stop smoking. A change in diet that includes green vegetables is also recommended. Foods like kale and spinach are rich in antioxidants known as carotenoids. Macular carotenoids replenish macular pigment levels and increase protection by absorbing dangerous blue light and blocking free radicals.

Because modern farming conditions have led to a decrease in food’s nutrients, the average American consumes 1/20th of the recommended amount each day1 — not enough to improve visual performance and AMD progression. Thankfully, supplementation offers a viable way to replenish the macular carotenoids.

Studies show that supplements containing all three macular carotenoids boost macular pigment significantly. Consistent, daily use of high-quality supplements like MacuHealth is an excellent way to ensure that the body receives the proper amount of carotenoids needed to support visual health and performance.

References

  1. Johnson et al. 2010. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.06.009.

It’s critical to understand that an AMD diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to sell your car or start learning braille, but its symptoms can make daily life a little more frustrating.

AMD

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

Judi Dench resolved to keep working despite her diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 2012. The actress, best known for playing M in the James Bond franchise, explained how she works around the disease during an online fundraiser for the London charity Vision Foundation in early 2021.

“I’ve had to find another way of learning lines and things, which is having great friends of mine repeat them to me over and over and over again,” she explained in The Guardian. “So, I have to learn through repetition, and I just hope that people won’t notice too much if all the lines are completely hopeless!”

The Oscar-winner is proof that AMD can affect anyone and how they see the world. The disease affects a small area in the center of the retina known as the macula, the part of our retina that provides clear vision to our direct line of sight. AMD’s symptoms aren’t obvious, but it can significantly affect the quality of life for those afflicted by it. We’ll look at how those with AMD adapt, both physically and mentally.

How Does AMD Affect How You See the World?

It’s critical to understand that an AMD diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to sell your car or start learning braille, but its symptoms can make daily life a little more frustrating. But sometimes, those with AMD may not have anything to worry about.

“Having a diagnosis of early macular degeneration may never impact [a patient’s] vision in a negative way,” explained Dr. Timothy Murray on the podcast Retina Health for Life from the American Society of Retina Specialists.

In some cases, vision can deteriorate slowly, with a slight change in color or a dark point in the middle of your field of view. Some other symptoms of AMD may include a blurred spot in the center of your vision, reduced ability to detect objects from their background or straight lines that appear wavy.

As eyesight declines  patients should make some adjustments around their homes to make things safer. This could include using high-contrast stairs, placing dark light switch covers over bright walls, or adjusting the brightness on indoor lighting. There are tools such as eyeglasses and telescopic implants that can magnify words for easier reading. Visual therapists can make recommendations based on your sight level.

Adapting Emotionally to AMD

Adjusting your life to any disease can be stressful and infuriating. For some, being diagnosed with AMD can be isolating and lead to bouts of anxiety and depression. A study in the American Journal of Ophthalmology showed that among the 300 patients with wet AMD and 100 of their caregivers surveyed, 89% of patients showed anxiety. In addition, 91% who experienced depression were not receiving appropriate emotional and psychological treatment. Many patients they spoke to stated they feared going blind and worried about the effectiveness of their treatment.

Your diagnosis isn’t something to feel embarrassed about or keep to yourself. Ask your doctor for information about any support groups or online communities that can provide the emotional help you need and serve as a resource on living with AMD. Chances are you’ll feel less alone, and you’ll find new ways to adjust. And don’t be afraid to speak with a professional therapist about coping with this change, and be forthcoming with your family about what you need.

Will Exercise or Changing My Diet Help?

A brisk walk, bike ride or any other low-to-moderate aerobic activity will not only boost your mood but can reduce stress and increase the level of antioxidants to help combat free radicals, which are linked to AMD.

A healthier diet can also help with AMD symptoms. Start preparing meals with colorful fruits and leafy greens rich in antioxidants known as carotenoids. They’re shown to replenish the macular pigment inside the eye, which helps to manage AMD symptoms. One way to ensure that the body receives the proper amount of carotenoids is to take a high-quality supplement like MacuHealth, which is clinically proven to improve visual health and performance.

Exercise, diet and a macular health supplement are part of a great strategy to extend good vision for years.  Be sure to speak with an eye care professional to develop your lifestyle-based strategy for dealing with AMD. By taking action, you can make a significant difference.

Carotenoids reduce the risk of disease progression by providing antioxidative properties to the eye, brain and body.

AMD

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

You may not know carotenoids, but chances are you’ve heard of antioxidants, the robust components of healthy foods that take on dangerous molecules known as free radicals which damage cells inside the body. There are over 700 carotenoids found in nature. Most fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, and some leafy greens feature unique carotenoids that fight an intense battle against free radicals inside the retina.

“The retina, especially the macula, is thought to be an environment of high oxidative stress, meaning that there is an abundance of free radicals—molecules that damage proteins and DNA within cells. Antioxidants fight free radicals and are thought to help protect the retina from this damage,” explains Dr. Ivana Kim, at Harvard Medical School.

If left unchecked, the damage from oxidative stress can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in those over 60. Interestingly, three specific carotenoids deposited in the retina are clinically proven to prevent and manage the symptoms of AMD. We’ll take a look at how these three carotenoids guard the eyes and can improve eyesight and cognitive health.

Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin

As Dr. Kim stated above, the retina needs a massive amount of oxygen to fuel the process of transforming light into images. Near the retina’s center is the macula, which serves central vision and contains the largest concentration of photoreceptors in the eye. It’s responsible for bringing detail and color to our sight. Because the macula demands so much oxygen to perform, oxidative stress and inflammation can severely impact eye and brain performance, causing a decrease in processing speed, contrast sensitivity, and adjusting to low-light situations.

The body is aware of this, so it places three powerful carotenoids – Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin – in the macula, where collectively they are called “macular pigment.” Their robust antioxidant properties make them capable of protecting the macula against free radicals. Because the macular pigment is colored yellow, it absorbs potentially harmful blue light. All of this leads to improved visual performance, including sharper colors, better contrast sensitivity and enhanced night vision. Studies show these carotenoids can also potentially delay (or even halt) the progression of AMD.

Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin are essential nutrients for the eye and brain, but our bodies can’t make them on their own. The average person consumes only one to two milligrams of macular carotenoids daily in their diet, in part because modern farming conditions have caused the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables to decline.1 Numerous studies show that taking supplements with all three macular carotenoids provides far superior results than taking Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Evidence also points to these nutrients reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and slowing its progression.

Carotenoids Aren’t Just for Eyes

Studies show that carotenoids accumulate in the parts of the brain that interact with the retina, which can offer improved cognitive function. They combat oxidative stress that has built up over time, which is the root cause of Alzheimer’s Disease and could be beneficial in managing the condition.

In one study3, the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland and the University Hospital Waterford divided Alzheimer’s patients into two groups. One took a carotenoid formula of 10mg of Lutein, 10mg of Meso-Zeaxanthin and 2mg of Zeaxanthin. The second group received both fish oil consisting of 450 mg of DHA and the carotenoid formulation. A third (control) group of patients without Alzheimer’s Disease took only the carotenoid formula.

After a year and a half of supplementation, those who took the carotenoid formulation and the fish oil experienced improved cognitive function based on a series of independently performed tests, including functional benefits in memory, sight and mood.

Professor John Nolan , Ph.D., who led the study, explains: “Our previous work confirmed that Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin are found in the eye and that enrichment of these essential nutrients with nutritional supplements can improve visual function. However, their high concentration in the healthy human brain also suggests a role for these nutrients in cognition.”

Based on overwhelming scientific evidence, it’s clear that we need sufficient amounts of Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin, and Zeaxanthin for optimal visual and cognitive health and performance. Thankfully, supplementation can help us reach the levels we need to realize all the benefits.  

References

  1. Johnson, E. J., Maras, J. E., Rasmussen, H. M., & Tucker, K. L. (2010). Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin differ with age, sex, and ethnicity. Journal of the American Dietetic Association110(9), 1357–1362. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2010.06.009
  2. Li, B., Ahmed, F., & Bernstein, P. S. (2010). Studies on the singlet oxygen scavenging mechanism of human macular pigment. Archives of biochemistry and biophysics504(1), 56–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abb.2010.07.024
  3. Nolan, J. M., Mulcahy, R., Power, R., Moran, R., & Howard, A. N. (2018). Nutritional Intervention to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease: Potential Benefits of Xanthophyll Carotenoids and Omega-3 Fatty Acids Combined. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD64(2), 367–378. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180160

Over 11 million people in the United States are affected by some form of AMD, with those over the age of 50 being the most vulnerable. According to the National Eye Institute, that number will likely double in the next 30 years.

AMD

Written by MacuHealth
Reviewed by Jim Stringham, Ph.D.

Those diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are likely unable to identify the moment when their vision started to change. Their eyesight declines gradually, so it’s not uncommon for them to keep running errands, watching television, or continue working on various projects.

But suddenly, colors become darker. Seeing directly ahead becomes a struggle, and both vision and independence start to erode. And when the diagnosis finally becomes real, it can be a devastating and depressing blow that can be frustrating and kill even the most resilient resolve.

The struggle to remain independent is why so many stories of dealing with AMD remain untold. The condition flies under the radar of those most prone to it, but with a diagnosis of AMD comes the risk of losing your driver’s license, a diminished social life, and, in later stages of the disease, the potential inability to recognize the faces of loved ones.

Over 11 million people in the United States are affected by some form of AMD, with those over the age of 50 being the most vulnerable. According to the National Eye Institute, that number will likely double in the next 30 years. Exciting new research has given AMD sufferers some hope in the battle with this degenerative disease. Unfortunately, however, there is still no cure.

Understanding how AMD works and when it starts are keys to slowing or stopping its progression. We’ll take a closer look at the symptoms and causes of AMD, some treatments on the horizon and how those diagnosed with it can effectively manage their symptoms.

What are the Causes of AMD?

In finding a cure for AMD, the field of genetics looks particularly promising. According to WebMD, researchers have discovered at least 20 genes connected to AMD. But it’s also our family histories that put us at risk for developing the condition. If a member of your family suffers from AMD, your chances of getting it goes up.

Family History, Gender, Race and Lifestyle Habits

Gender and race are other factors that increase the risk of AMD. Nearly two-thirds of those living with the condition are women, and a third of those afflicted are white. Almost a third of those over the age of 75 have AMD and your chances of getting it goes up after you turn 50. Other factors that increase your AMD risk include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.

What is the Difference Between Dry and Wet Macular Degeneration?

Dry Macular Degeneration

There are two stages of AMD. The first kind is dry macular degeneration. The macula, the part of our retina that provides clear vision to our direct line of sight, begins to thin out and deteriorate as we grow older. Those who suffer from dry macular degeneration may not lose their vision entirely. The disorder can develop in one or both eyes and worsen over time.

Wet Macular Degeneration

Dry macular degeneration can progress to the wet stage, occurring when new blood vessels grow underneath and into the macula. These irregular developments may leak fluid or blood, which can block light from reaching the retina, and harms the structure of the retina. Additionally, it’s caused when fluid builds up between the retina and a thin cell layer called the retinal pigment epithelium, causing distorted vision.

The Benefits of Being Peer-Reviewed

It can be difficult for people to know when the symptoms of AMD begin. Sometimes, one’s vision declines slowly, with a slight change in color or a dark spot in the center of your field of view. Other times, straight lines can appear wavy. Regular visits to your eye care professional can help detect AMD early. Some other signs of AMD to look out for are:

  • A blurred or blind spot in the center of your vision
  • Difficulty adjusting your eyes in low-lit areas
  • Printed words that are fuzzy and difficult to read
  • Difficulty visually recognizing faces
  • Reduced ability to distinguish objects from their background

Can the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration be Managed or Treated?

For those who are s­­truggling with AMD, there is some hope. While there currently isn’t a cure, there are treatments that can help regulate its symptoms. The most important thing you can do is to see an optometrist regularly and get tested for AMD. Th­­­ere are also laser therapies or invasive drugs injected into the eye, both of which can halt the growth of abnormal blood vessels that can leak fluid into the retina. Less intrusive treatments include quitting smoking and a balanced diet that includes vegetables.

Supplements are a non-invasive, natural treatment shown to help AMD patients by replenishing macular pigment levels in the eye. With continuous supplementation, patients can reduce the risk of progression dramatically and improve their visual performance. MacuHealth, which includes all three carotenoids that make up the macular pigment, has been scientifically proven to protect the eye from damage, rebuild macular pigment and delay the symptoms of AMD.