AREDS2 formula
Which eye supplement is right for you? MacuHealth or our AREDS2 formula, MacuHealth Plus+

AMD

Written by MacuHealth

Eye supplements are a great way to give the macula the nutrients it needs to enhance your vision. But if you’re researching which one is right for your needs, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. You may have some questions: What is an AREDS2 formula? Are they able to enhance my vision? Can they help manage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) symptoms?

The good news is that MacuHealth offers two products designed to meet your eye care needs. First, there is MacuHealth, which features our Triple Carotenoid Formula. We also have MacuHealth Plus+, designed for those who prefer an AREDS2 formula. But it might be unclear to know which one is right for you. To help, we put together a guide so you can choose the product that meets your eye care needs.

MacuHealth

If you’re showing early symptoms of dry AMD, have a history of the disease in your family or simply want to improve their general eye health, MacuHealth is perfect supplement to meet your needs. Its 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 what you need in just one softgel and nothing you don’t.

MacuHealth Plus+: Our AREDS2 Formula

If you’ve researched eye supplements, chances are you’ve heard of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and its follow-up AREDS2. The National Eye Institute (NEI) conducted both studies. Researchers worked with thousands of participants to see if nutritional supplements could slow down or prevent AMD and cataracts.

Your eye care provider may detect symptoms of AMD and might be more comfortable prescribing an AREDS2 formula. MacuHealth Plus+ is an AREDS2 formula, but 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. It’s also 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’s Triple Carotenoid Formula and MacuHealth Plus+, our AREDS2 formula.  

Flyer MacuHealth vs MacuHealth Plus+

References

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

AMD

eye test for macular degeneration
You may receive an eye test for macular degeneration at your next exam.

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

No one likes to get their eyes dilated when seeing their eye care professional. But according to WebMD, if you’re over 45 years of age, this is the best way for your doctor to check for early signs of eye diseases

And if you experience changes in your vision, it might be time to get an eye test for macular degeneration. This progressive eye disease can lead to distortions in sight and central vision loss. Some symptoms include:

  • A blurry or blind spot in the center of your vision
  • Difficulty adjusting your eyesight in low-lit areas or distinguishing objects from their background
  • Struggling to read a book or magazine or having difficulty recognizing faces

If it’s time to check your eyes, here’s some of the tests you may take to detect age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

What’s an Amsler grid?

Before going to see your doctor, there is an eye test for macular degeneration you can take at home. It’s known as the Amsler grid. Not only can it detect the signs of AMD, but it can also help you track any vision changes caused by the disease.

When you see the Amsler grid, you’ll notice it’s a piece of graph paper with a small dot in the center. To begin the test, start by holding the test far enough so that most of the lines are in view – typically the same distance from where you would read a book. Then close one eye because if you test with both eyes open, you won’t notice any abnormalities. Otherwise, one eye will compensate for the other.

If the lines appear curved or blocked out, it could be a sign your eye has developed the advanced form of macular degeneration known as wet AMD. The cause of the wavy lines is the fluid accumulating in or underneath the retina. This fluid meddles with retinal function enough to cause a spot in the center of your visual field.

amsler grid eye test for macular degeneration
The Amsler grid is an eye test for macular degeneration you can take at home.

What Tests Will I Receive?

The best way to manage AMD symptoms is to catch the disease as early as possible so that any treatments will be effective. Here is a list of eye tests for macular degeneration that you may receive from your doctor:

  • Ophthalmoscopy

 This test is also known as a funduscopy or retinal examination. Your doctor will dilate your eyes to allow them to look at your retina, optic disc and blood vessels using an ophthalmoscope. This instrument features a light and several small lenses to find any optic nerve damage, glaucoma and any drusen deposits, an early indicator of AMD.

  • Fluorescein angiography

This test checks to see if blood is flowing properly into the retina and choroid, the two layers in the back of the eye. Your doctor will begin by dilating your pupils and capturing images of the inside of your eye. Then they’ll inject a dye called fluorescein and take more pictures as the colored liquid moves through the blood vessels in the back of your eye.

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT scan)

As you stare at a blinking light or target, the machine measures the thickness of your retina and optic nerve. This is done by using the amount of red light reflecting from these parts of the eye. Your doctor may or may not dilate your pupil for this exam. Not only is this eye test for macular degeneration, but it also detects glaucoma and retinopathy.

What Happens After My Eye Test for Macular Degeneration?

If your doctor detects any signs of AMD, they may recommend a change in diet that includes green vegetables, such as kale and spinach. They’re rich in antioxidants known as carotenoids. These nutrients replenish macular pigment levels, absorb dangerous blue light and block free radicals. Blue light exposure and free radicals are both known to contribute to AMD, so reducing the impact of these factors may slow or even stop disease progression.

Supplementation also offers a convenient and safe way to boost eye health. 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 nutrients needed to support visual health and performance.

AMD

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

best eye vitamins for blurry vision
What should the best eye vitamins for blurry vision have?

Humans are living longer. Medical science continues to make advancements to repair our joints, skin and other vital organs. But our eyes – which give us vision, our most treasured sense – continue to deteriorate as we age. This causes unclear vision and dark spots across our line of sight. As a result, some doctors may recommend risky invasive surgeries or injections. But this solution could make symptoms worse, not better.

There are also many eye care professionals who offer supplements to help patients manage their eye disease symptoms, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But how can you tell which supplements will deliver a real solution? We’ll explore what causes our eyesight to deteriorate and what you should look for when searching for the best eye vitamins for blurry vision related to AMD and visual health.

How Can Supplements Help Vision?

There’s a good chance that if you’ve been researching the best eye vitamins for blurry vision related to AMD, you’ve heard of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and its follow-up AREDS2. The National Eye Institute (NEI) conducted both of these studies. Researchers worked with thousands of participants to see if nutritional supplements could slow down or prevent AMD and cataracts. These are two diseases that can alter vision. These supplements feature antioxidants known as carotenoids, nutrients that make the macular pigment. 

The study included the following results:

  • Taking AREDS reduces the risk of progression from intermediate to advanced AMD by about 25 percent, with an additional 10 percent risk reduction with the addition of the carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin (AREDS2).
  • Also, current and former smokers should take the AREDS2 formula and avoid the AREDS formula with beta-carotene, as it increases lung cancer risk.

Additionally, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, the two primary carotenoids in AREDS2 formulas, had “an incremental increase in benefit,” according to the NEI. Further Level 1 studies conducted show that by including Meso-Zeaxanthin, the third carotenoid that makes up the macular pigment, AMD symptoms can be managed or prevented.

What Should You Look For?

After the release of the AREDS and AREDS2 study results, countless supplements promising to reduce the risk of AMD flooded the market. But what should you look for when researching the best eye vitamins for blurry vision related to AMD? Here are four items to check for to help you decide.

All-Natural Ingredients

If the eyes are sensitive organs, then they can become irritated and damaged when exposed to synthetic ingredients. Be sure to protect them by checking the supplement’s label to ensure that what’s inside the bottle is all-natural.

Bioavailability

Bioavailability is the amount of active ingredients absorbed into the body’s circulation. Basically, it works like this: The higher the absorption rate, then the more nutrients go to where you need them. However, most vitamins degrade over time because they become exposed to light, oxygen and moisture. Additionally, researchers have proved that not all eye supplements offer the amount of ingredients they say.

“We confirm that a number of commercially available carotenoid food supplements do not achieve their label claim,” explained Dr. David Phelan, Professor John Nolan and Dr. Alfonso Prado-Cabrero in their study on supplements in the journal Nutrients.1

In order to check the bioavailability, take a look at the label. See if the supplement is in tablet or capsule form. Studies show that the best vitamins are oil-based capsules. Generally, capsules are more stable and less likely to degrade than tablets.

Meso-Zeaxanthin

Meso-Zeaxanthin is the most powerful carotenoid. Studies show2 that when it’s combined with Lutein and Zeaxanthin, these three nutrients become even more effective than when they’re on their own. Specifically, these ingredients are vital in rebuilding the macular pigment, filtering out harmful blue light, fighting inflammation and reducing oxidative stress in the eyes and brain. To clarify, Meso-Zeaxanthin is an essential ingredient in the best eye vitamins for blurry vision and visual health related to AMD symptoms.

Peer-reviewed

The supplement industry is unregulated. This allows companies to make false claims about their products and put inactive ingredients into their formulations. For consumers, the most effective way to verify a company’s claims is to see if the supplement has been through the peer-review process. You can trust a study’s results if it’s been published in a peer-reviewed journal. This form of quality control weeds out poorly researched work. It also gives eye care professionals and patients the confidence to trust a supplement’s claims.

What Are the Best Eye Vitamins for Blurry Vision Symptoms?

Of the best eye vitamins for vision on the market, MacuHealth was the first eye supplement to feature Meso-Zeaxanthin as an ingredient. Many companies now include this vital nutrient in their products. But over 40 peer-reviewed studies back up what MacuHealth’s all-natural Triple Carotenoid Formula can do to improve someone’s sight.

In terms of bioavailability, a study published in 2020,3 the current formulation of MacuHealth yielded a significantly higher response in the blood and retina when compared to standard macular carotenoid formulations. Additionally, another study showed that of the 46 supplements tested, 64% of them didn’t contain the amount of carotenoids promised on their label.1

To sum up, if you want to improve your visual health and performance, MacuHealth has everything you’re looking for.

References

  1.  Phelan, D., Prado-Cabrero, A., & Nolan, J. M. (2017). Stability of Commercially Available Macular Carotenoid Supplements in Oil and Powder Formulations. Nutrients9(10), 1133. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9101133

  2. Akuffo, K. O., Beatty, S., Stack, J., Dennison, J., O’Regan, S., Meagher, K. A., Peto, T., & Nolan, J. (2014). Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST): design and methodology of the CREST randomized controlled trials. Ophthalmic epidemiology, 21(2), 111–123. https://doi.org/10.3109/09286586.2014.888085

  3. Green-Gomez M, Prado-Cabrero A, Moran R, et al. The Impact of Formulation on Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and meso-Zeaxanthin Bioavailability: A Randomised Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(8):767. Published 2020 Aug 18. doi:10.3390/antiox9080767. 2. 

AMD

does blue light damage eyes

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

Blue light is inescapable. We’re exposed to its short, high-energy wavelengths when we check our phones in the morning, and it strains our eyes as we stare at our computer monitors and tablets at work. Blue light is in the sunlight and fills our home when we turn on the lights and television sets. But does blue light damage eyes? We’ll share some reasons to cut down your exposure, along with proven ways you can protect your eyes.

Headaches, Eye Strain and Sleepless Nights

Blue light isn’t entirely unhealthy. Studies show it’s vital for some body functions. It releases serotonin, a ho­­rmone that can boost your mood and improve memory and reaction time. It also keeps us alert during the day and enhances our color vision.

But exposure to blue light at certain times of the day can be harmful. A Harvard study showed that blue light exposure before bedtime slows down the release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our body’s circadian rhythm (or sleeping pattern). This disruption leaves us feeling more tired throughout the day, putting us at risk for depression, diabetes and heart issues.

But does blue light damage eyes? Prolonged exposure can cause eye strain and damage the macula, the part of your retina that processes your central vision. It accelerates the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and lowers your ability to see objects at night. It also leads to dry, irritated eyes and headaches.

Blue light protection is even more important after cataract surgery. The eye’s lens blocks some blue light on its own. Patients lose that natural filter that the cataract provides when it’s removed, which increases their risk for AMD.

Does Blue Light Damage Eyes in Children?

Increased screen time can be harmful to children’s developing vision. In addition to the effects of blue light on their sleeping pattern, studies have shown that nearsightedness (also known as myopia) is increasingly prevalent among kids, with tablets and video game consoles suggested as the culprit.

What Are Some Ways We Can Combat Blue Light?

20-20-20 Rule

As shown above, the answer to the question, “Does blue light damage eyes?” is “Yes.” And as the public becomes better educated on the dangers of blue light, device manufacturers have added a dark mode and other settings to products to reduce glare and block blue light by 30 to 60 percent. You can also rest your eyes by taking a 20-second break from your screen every 20 minutes, then focusing on an object 20 feet away.

Blue Light Glasses

Blue-blocking glasses have become popular over the last few years. They’re proven to stop blue light, but researchers don’t recommend them as they’ve been ineffective at reducing eye strain. You can try using artificial tears and humidifiers to keep your eyes moist and decrease headaches.

How Supplements Help with Blue Light

We’ve answered the question: Does blue light damage eyes? But is there any thing we can do to absorb it? In one clinical study, those who spent more than six hours in front of a screen and took a macular carotenoid supplement with Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin showed a significant reduction in headaches, eye strain and fatigue. There was also an increased improvement in sleep quality and macular pigment levels.1

However, several nutrition-based studies have demonstrated that we tend to fall short in our intake of fruits and vegetables, particularly the three antioxidant carotenoids that protect the central retina against blue light – Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-Zeaxanthin. Over time, without these nutrients, we run the risk of degeneration in our central retina. Consistent consumption of these carotenoids is necessary to maintain the health of the macula, especially as we age.

Although the body can absorb these carotenoids from spinach, carrots and other foods, the average person only consumes one to two milligrams of them daily in their diet.2 Additionally, new farming methods and environmental conditions have caused a decline in the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables, which means that we get about 1/20th of the recommended amount of these vital nutrients.

Supplementation with these three carotenoids is a viable way to ensure high levels in the retina. Quality supplements like MacuHealth are an excellent way to ensure that the body receives the proper amount of the essential carotenoids it needs to support visual health and performance. Studies show that supplements containing Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin increase the macular pigment significantly, improve visual performance and absorb blue light.

References

  1. Stringham, J. M., Stringham, N. T., & O’Brien, K. J. (2017). Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance, Sleep Quality, and Adverse Physical Symptoms in Those with High Screen Time Exposure. Foods (Basel, Switzerland)6(7), 47. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods6070047
  2. 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

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.   

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.