AMD

eye health
Orange colored fruits are great for your eye health.

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

Everyone from your doctor to talk show hosts has told you the importance of good nutrition as it relates to your heart and waistline. But chances are you’re unaware of how the right foods can contribute to good eye health and visual performance. Certain fruits and vegetables have ingredients that can reduce your risk for certain eye diseases, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and enhance contrast sensitivity and vision in glare.

If you’re looking to manage the symptoms of early AMD or simply want to boost your visual performance, consider including these foods in your diet.  

Raw bell peppers

Studies show that the vitamin C in bell peppers can improve blood flow through the tiny vessels in your eyes and lower your risk of developing cataracts, according to WebMD. The brighter the color, the better, but try to eat them raw. Heat breaks down vitamin C.

Almonds and sunflower seeds

Vitamin E is one of the key nutrients in AREDS2 supplements. It has been shown in peer-reviewed studies to slow down the symptoms of AMD and reduce the risk of developing cataracts. One ounce of sunflower seeds or almonds has half the daily recommended amount of this powerful nutrient, according to WebMD. 

Dark green leafy vegetables

Remember when your parents told you to eat your greens? There was a reason for that: they have the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are proven to rebuild the macular pigment and lower your risk of AMD. Next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on kale, spinach, and collard greens to give your eye health a boost.

Salmon and other fish

Seafood such as salmon, tuna, and trout are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Not only do these oils boost your brain and heart health, but they also help decrease dry eye symptoms.

Orange-colored fruits and vegetables

They say carrots can help boost your eyesight. These and other orange-colored vegetables are rich in the carotenoid beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, a key player in preserving visual function. It’s also been shown to prevent blindness and maintain the health of the cornea (the clear front of the eye). Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, mangos and apricots are also high in this essential nutrient.

Poultry and lean meats

The mineral zinc is essential to bringing vitamin A from your liver to your retina to make melanin, a pigment vital for eye health. Chicken, pork, beef and oysters are rich in this nutrient, but keep in mind that the FDA has set the daily tolerable limit for zinc at 40 mg. 

Legumes

Are you looking for a vegetarian option for your daily zinc intake? Beans and other legumes can help your eye health as they are rich in this essential mineral. Chickpeas will give you what you need, but black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lentils and even a can of baked beans will do the job.

Eggs are good for eye health

If you’re looking for a meal that will supercharge you and your vision in the morning, cook up some eggs. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are in the yolk, which is perfect for your eye health as these ingredients increase your macular pigment, which is vital for protecting your central vision and preventing AMD.

Squash

And speaking of lutein and zeaxanthin, they can also be found in squash. Summer squash also has vitamin C and zinc, vital antioxidants for maintaining eye health. There are also omega-3 fatty acids in winter squash, which can help naturally reduce dry eye symptoms.

Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts

If you’re looking to protect your eyes from the free radicals that can damage your vision, you can’t go wrong with these two veggies. They have the carotenoids you need to protect the retina.

We need the carotenoids 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.  Eye vitamins such as MacuHealth and MacuHealth Plus+ are specifically formulated with these ingredients to enrich and restore macular pigment to optimum levels.

AMD

what does blue light do
What does blue light do to the retina? Read the answer below.

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

The optics of your eye projects an image onto the retina, much like an old-fashioned camera does with film. And just like a camera, any number of factors can cause harm to that system and change how you see the world. This includes the high-energy blue light that comes from your digital devices. So what does blue light do to your retina? We’ll look at how this vital area of the eye works and how our phones, tablets, and computers can affect our optical system.

How Does the Retina Work?

The retina, located in the back of the eye, is part of the central nervous system. Thus this area consists of several layers of networked cells and their “wiring.” One part of this network are photoreceptor cells, often referred to as rods and cones. These capture the light that reaches the retina, which initiate a cascade of chemical and electrical events. The brain communicates them to the optic nerve and translates all of these signals into visual perception.

The macula is a term to describe the center of the retina. Because this region is cone photoreceptor-dominated, it enables daylight and color vision and gives detail to what we see. The remainder of the retina is dominated by rods, which promote sensitivity to dim-light conditions, such as vision at night.

What Can Blue Light Do to Damage the Retina?

As stated above, the photoreceptor cells in the macula convert light to electric energy. Then the brain interprets these transmissions. This high metabolic activity is very demanding and requires a lot of energy and nutrition to fuel the entire process.

Additionally, the photoreceptor environment is necessarily rich in oxygen and requires exposure to visible light to see, adding to the macula’s metabolic demands. These twin stresses can lead to damage.

What does blue light do to harm the retina? Blue light is composed of relatively short wavelengths, which have higher energy. Because chronic exposure to this high-energy light can produce photo-oxidation, it can compromise retinal health and performance. And over a lifetime, chronic blue light exposure can damage your macula, degrade your visual performance, and could potentially contribute to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

But there is a way to protect the eye. A single layer of cells behind the retina, known as retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), nurtures the photoreceptors and removes waste products. One of these waste products from photoreceptor damage is known as lipofuscin (a yellow age pigment). This pigment accumulates over time in RPE cells and compromises their ability to function optimally (or at all).

As we age, lipofuscin fills the RPE cells, causing these cells to give out and extrude their contents. These cells, seen as lipids and proteins, are called drusen. The collection of these yellow deposits is a typical symptom of early AMD. Blue light interacts with lipofuscin to produce additional oxidative stress. This also causes further stress to the retina, increasing drusen formation and furthering the development of AMD.

What Does Macular Pigment Do?

What does blue light do to your vision in the long term? It’s scattered in front of the retina, contributing to glare and a reduction in contrast sensitivity, leading to a decline in visual performance.

You can find blue light in:

  • Sunlight
  • Smartphones, tablets and other hand-held electronic devices
  • Television and computer screens
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)

In front of the photoreceptors is macular pigment, which means it filters light before it reaches photoreceptors and RPE. This protects them from free radicals and photo-oxidative damage. It is composed of the carotenoids Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin. The highest concentration of cone photoreceptors is in the center of the macula, known as the fovea. This area is responsible for sharp central vision and color. Macular pigment protects the entire macula. However, Meso-Zeaxanthin protects the center (and most vulnerable) region. This conveniently gives the fovea the best antioxidant protection of the three macular carotenoids.

Low macular pigment can cause photo-oxidative stress to the macula. Because more blue light is exposed to the cone photoreceptors, particularly in the fovea, an insufficient amount of antioxidants are available to neutralize the damaging free radicals. Studies have shown that deficiencies in the carotenoids that make up the macular pigment are associated with poor visual performance and age-related macular degeneration.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Eye Damage?

How can we protect our eyes from what blue light does to our vision? The only way to replenish these vital antioxidants is through diet. Research shows that Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin can be found in foods such as spinach, broccoli, corn, and eggs. These vital nutrients can also be replenished through supplementation.

Peer-reviewed research proves that supplementation with Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin rebuilds macular pigment and enhances vision in diseased and healthy eyes. MacuHealth and MacuHealth Plus+ are specifically formulated in the same 10:10:2 ratio found in natural macular pigment (10mg Meso-Zeaxanthin, 10mg Lutein, 2mg Zeaxanthin). These supplements enrich and restore macular pigment to optimum levels with continued use.

AMD

vision aids for macular degeneration
Regular visits to your eye care professional can help you find the right vision aids for macular degeneration.

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

Are you at risk of severe vision loss?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 93 million Americans are at risk of profound vision loss at some point in their life. Even worse, only about half of this number have visited an eye doctor in the last 12 months.

Macular degeneration represents one of the leading causes of severe vision loss. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that 2.1 million Americans aged 50 or over have vision-threatening macular degeneration.

In this article, we’ll examine what vision aids for macular degeneration are, how they can help, and the types of aids available today.

What are Some of the Vision Aids for Macular Degeneration?

Fortunately, being diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration doesn’t have to mean losing control of your life. Various support options are available, including multiple sight aids for macular degeneration.

Devices for macular degeneration help you to make the best of what vision you have and ensure that your life keeps running smoothly. It might take a little time to adjust, but by taking advantage of sight aids, you can continue to enjoy a free and independent lifestyle.

Why are Macular Degeneration Vision Aids Important?

If you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, you may experience changes to your vision. Regular appointments with your eye doctor will help you manage these changes over time.

Doing everything possible to preserve your eye health and protect your vision is critical. However, vision ads can support you in optimizing your sight. As devastating as vision loss is, living with macular degeneration doesn’t have to mean missing out on your favorite things.

Technological advancements are helping patients to work, study, and enjoy their lives with minimal fuss and inconvenience.

Vision aids cannot prevent macular degeneration or halt its progress. There is no cure for this type of condition, but vision aids for macular degeneration can empower you to adapt and overcome.

The first step is selecting the best visual aid for you.

8 Vision Aids For Macular Degeneration

Coping with macular degeneration means getting creative. There’s no single best macular degeneration aid for everybody. You may want to try several visual aids for macular degeneration to see which one(s) works best to help your vision.

Magnifiers

Low-vision magnifiers are the most common type of aid for macular degeneration. Small magnifiers are easy to use and can suit any purpose, including watching TV, putting on makeup or reading.

You’ll find various macular degeneration aids for low vision, including small pocket magnifiers and full-page magnifiers. Like most products, magnifiers vary in size, price, and quality. As a non-prescription product, do your research to find a suitable magnifier for your needs.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Magnifiers

CCTV systems combine a camera and a television screen for macular degeneration patients. Point the camera at an object, and the magnified image will appear on the screen.

Look at the screen and use the image to work or enjoy your favorite activities in real-time. Like magnifiers, a range of CCTV systems is available. Many of the leading CCTV systems can even broadcast images in 4K.

Electronic Reading Tools

Reading can be incredibly challenging for people with macular degeneration. According to one study, slower reading speeds occur because patients become increasingly reliant on their peripheral vision. While you may be tempted to give up on reading entirely, there are aids for low-vision macular degeneration to maintain your reading abilities.

Electronic reading tools can help by increasing the font size, font type, and contrast between the page and the words. Most modern eReaders already contain these standard features, making it easier to enjoy your favorite books.

Low-Vision Optical Lenses

Ordinary eyeglasses can only take you so far as macular degeneration advances with age. Technology advancements have led to the development of different types of optical lenses to combat the condition. There’s no need to allow poor vision to stop you from living your life to the fullest.

Depending on the extent of your condition, you may find certain types of eyeglasses more valuable than others. Here’s a breakdown of the most common low-vision optical lenses.

Bioptic Telescopic Glasses

Bioptic telescopic glasses, also marketed as bioptic lens systems, combine a telescope with two optical lenses. These telescopes are affixed to the glasses’ lenses to boost your vision.

Bioptic macular degeneration visual aids allow you to see objects at a distance. The most common uses for these lenses include reading signs, recognizing faces, and watching television.

Low-Vision Magnifying Reading Glasses

The versatility of an eReader is unmatched, but not everyone likes looking at a screen to  read. If you prefer to read print in physical books and newspapers, you need an alternative tool.

Low-vision magnifying reading glasses act like an eReader because they magnify the font to make it simpler to consume.

Prismatic Eyeglasses

Prismatic eyeglasses are similar to low-vision magnifying reading glasses, only stronger. These extra-powerful reading glasses offer a natural focal point that takes the strain off your eyes. 

Prism glasses can help with an issue like double vision, assisting both eyes to focus on the same image. If you suffer from a more severe form of macular degeneration, prismatic eyeglasses can be a helpful reading aid.

E-Scoop Glasses

E-Scoop glasses are an advanced form of optical lens combining five unique characteristics to support your sight. These include:

  • Increasing image size
  • Improving contrast
  • Enhancing light exposure
  • Bolstering comfort
  • Improving vision

Unlike some of the other low-vision aids for macular degeneration on this list, E-Scoop glasses are designed to be worn constantly.

E-Scoop glasses are a long-term vision aid because they can be recalibrated to match your changing vision. Do remember that even this advanced technology has its limitations. They cannot restore your vision or combat advanced macular degeneration.

Binoculars/Telescopes

While binoculars and telescopes are not distinct optical lenses, they are an add-on you can mount to your glasses. Attaching telescopes or binoculars can temporarily change your vision if you struggle to see things at a distance.

These compact binoculars or telescopes can allow you to visit a museum, read menus, go to the theater or attend a sporting event. The strength of these additions can be tailored according to your current vision strength.

OrCam

OrCam is another next-generation low-vision aid developed to change how you perceive the world despite low vision. It is attached directly to your eyeglasses and connects to a larger device via a cable.

The OrCam is barely noticeable and utilizes artificial intelligence to support people with visual impairments to recognize faces, read books and more.

Additionally, OrCam has been used to help people who are blind by seeing on their behalf and speaking to them. For example, OrCam can read supermarket barcodes to tell you which product is in front of you.

IrisVision

Wearable devices powered by artificial intelligence are fast becoming the next frontier of vision aids for macular degeneration. IrisVision goes one step further by incorporating virtual reality technology.

IrisVision provides a 70-degree field of vision to allow you to perceive the world fully and clearly. Currently, the only disadvantage of IrisVision is that it remains a static device. You cannot move around while wearing it. But it is fascinating because it includes several viewing modes, allowing you to switch between each. Whether you need scene mode for admiring a landscape or TV mode for watching your favorite show, a click of a button will help you see everything clearly.

Supplements

Aids for macular degeneration provide vital support to your vision as you age. Evidence has shown that supplements can slow down macular degeneration progression, and reduce symptom severity in many patients. There are high-quality supplements that offer important benefits to eye health and improve overall health, making them an excellent addition to your diet.

Low-Vision Lamps

Light is essential for supporting someone with macular degeneration. Over time, yellow deposits in the eye, known as drusen, gradually cause light-sensitive cells within the macular to thin and die.

High-quality lighting can compensate for some of your central vision loss, whether you have the dry or wet form of age-related macular degeneration. It also reduces eye strain and eye fatigue. Ordinary options lack the control to set the light just right for your vision. Specialized low-vision lamps can control the light’s color, brightness and direction.

Low-vision lamps can also make your other aids for macular degeneration, such as video magnifiers, magnifying glasses, and CCTV systems, more effective. Some low-vision lamps are designed to be portable, so you can easily carry them from room to room as needed.

Support Your Vision with Macular Degeneration Supplements

We can’t stop age-related macular degeneration. However, slowing the disease’s progression, and reducing symptom severity can make a healthy, independent life is possible. Macular degeneration vision aids have come a long way in the last decade, with next-generation technologies revolutionizing how patients see, even when their central vision fails.

Many people don’t realize they’re at risk of macular degeneration, especially after their 50th birthday. Vision aids can help you optimize your remaining sight, but you can support your eye health daily with the right mix of supplements.

MacuHealth’s macular degeneration supplements contain the three major macular carotenoids scientifically proven to rebuild the macular pigment and manage your macular degeneration symptoms.

To learn more about the benefits of MacuHealth, contact us now.

enriching macular pigment
Nearly everyone benefits from enriching macular pigment.

AMD

Nearly everyone will benefit from enriching macular pigment throughout their lifetime. We’re living longer and exposed to increased amounts of blue light. Because of this, macular pigment must be continuously replenished to fight free radicals and protect the macula from oxidation. 

Enriching macular pigment provides everyone with at least two benefits:

  1. Macular pigment is nature’s antioxidant, protecting our macula from damage from oxidation throughout our life.
  2. Macular pigment naturally filters blue light. This results in improved and optimized 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 requirements. Enriching and maximizing macular pigment will optimize vision for athletes, military and police.

AMD expectations
When receiving an AMD diagnosis, expectations are your independence will end. That's not true.

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 an AMD diagnosis means their independence will end, and they’ll lose control of their lives.

AMD is a progressive disease. 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. 

The condition does affect everyone differently. While there is currently no cure for this disease, you can 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 you. 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 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 AMD 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, 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 give you an idea of how your condition is progressing or if your doctor needs 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 vital in maintaining as much of your sight as 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 the disease’s progress from dry AMD to the wet stage. Your doctor can keep you updated on new procedures and even recommend some in-house treatments, such as laser therapy or vision aids, that can 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 sources 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’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 your doctor might be unable to.

Feed your eyes.

Exciting new research suggests nutrition plays a critical role in battling AMD. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet will boost your mood. 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. They also protect the eyes from harmful blue light from sunlight and electronic devices.

living with macular degeneration
Living with macular degeneration doesn't have to be stressful.

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 shows 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. We’ll look at how those with AMD adapt 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’re going completely blind, 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 your eyesight declines, you can 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 of indoor lighting. Tools such as eyeglasses and telescopic implants can magnify words for easier reading. Check with a visual therapist so they 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 for living with AMD. Chances are you’ll feel less alone and 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.

eye vitamins
Vision supplements, or eye vitamins, are for everyone.

AMD

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

Macular carotenoids are powerful and specific antioxidants that our body uses to fight a battle against free radicals in the retina. Since the body doesn’t synthesize these special nutrients – Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin – on its own, they must be obtained via dietary consumption of dark leafy greens and other colored fruits and vegetables. 

Often, diet isn’t enough, and low intake of these crucial nutrients can result in damage from oxidative stress and inflammation that can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in those over 60 years of age.

The problem is that the average person consumes only one to two milligrams of macular carotenoids daily. But research has proven the body receives significant benefits when taking between 20 to 25 mg daily. Additionally, modern farming conditions have caused the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables to decline.

But scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that our eyes need Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin to experience enhanced visual performance, protect our eyes from blue light and manage AMD risk and symptoms. At what age should we start taking these vital ingredients? We’ll look at when is a good time to start taking eye vitamins.

Why Eye Vitamins Are for Everyone

We’re relying more on our computers, tablets and smartphones. The drawback is that these devices emit shortwave frequencies (i.e., blue light) with high energy that can damage the macula over time. Additionally, there are other unwelcome symptoms that exposure to blue light can cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Dry eye
  • Sleep disruption
  • Eye strain
  • General visual discomfort

Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin benefit eye health and protect the retina from blue light-induced damage by increasing your macular pigment density. In other words, they act as a defensive wall to lower the risk of various eye diseases and undesirable symptoms that can arise due to blue light exposure. When found in an extremely pure and highly bioavailable form, as they are in eye vitamins like MacuHealth, they can also have the following benefits:

  • Enhanced sleep
  • Reduced eye strain
  • Reduced headache frequency
  • Improved visual performance (e.g., contrast sensitivity, glare, speed of processing)
  • Limit the risk of long-term eye health complications

Why Eye Vitamins Are Vital for Older Adults

As we get older, the risk of developing eye disease increases. We need carotenoids to build macular pigment and protect our vision. These diseases include cataracts and AMD. By enriching macular pigment with eye vitamins, you can help manage AMD symptoms and save eyesight in a diseased eye and, in more advanced forms of the disease, possibly delay the onset of the disease in the other eye.

Additionally, when post-cataract patients have had their crystalline lens removed, it takes out the natural blue light filtration normally provided by the lens. The replacement lens is clear. While good in many ways, the new lens allows blue light to pass through to the retina, making it more susceptible to damage. Taking an eye vitamin like MacuHealth can help to guard against this damage by building up the defense provided by macular pigment.

Why Eye Vitamins Are Vital for Athletes

Have you ever tried to catch a fly ball with the bright sun in your eyes? Baseball players need strong contrast sensitivity, your ability to distinguish between an object and its background, to make the big play. And researchers and eye care professionals state that testing for contrast sensitivity is a better measure of your visual performance than the standard examination of reading letters off a chart. Good contrast sensitivity allows you to detect subtle differences in shading and more accurately track objects (e.g., a ball) moving against varying background illumination.

Visual Processing Speed

In almost any sport, there are many instances where faster visual processing speed is a great advantage. For example, it’s hard for players to predict where a rebound will go once it leaves the backboard. Also, hockey goalies must anticipate a puck’s trajectory when an opposing player makes a lightning-fast shot. But if you have high visual processing speed, you can react quicker, better predict where things will be at any given time and make better decisions as you play.

 

Glare Disability and Recovery

Sunlight and bright stadium lights can wipe out your visual field and wear out your eyes. Look at how much a quarterback squints in the fourth quarter – this is a sign that he’s struggling with glare from the sun and stadium lights. Ocular fatigue factors into how well players perform, and glare makes it hard to judge the small but vital details. Several studies have demonstrated that the more you build up your macular pigment level, the greater benefit you’ll experience in terms of glare – both seeing through glare from bright lights and recovering from exposure to bright light.

Eye vitamins such as MacuHealth and MacuHealth Plus+ are specifically formulated with Meso-Zeaxanthin, Lutein and Zeaxanthin to enrich and restore macular pigment to optimum levels with continued use. And they’re safe and recommended for anyone, no matter their age.

carotenoids
Are you getting enough carotenoids in your diet?

AMD

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

You may not know carotenoids, but chances are you’ve heard of antioxidants. They’re robust components of healthy foods that take on 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. Also, 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 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 lot of oxygen to fuel your eyesight. Near the retina’s center is the macula, which serves central vision. It also 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. It can cause a decrease in processing speed, contrast sensitivity and difficulty 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. Collectively, these carotenoids 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. 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. However, our bodies can’t make them on their own. The average person consumes only one to two milligrams of macular carotenoids daily. This is 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. These nutrients combat oxidative stress that has built up over time. Research shows oxidative stress is the root cause of Alzheimer’s Disease, and carotenoids 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 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. The results are 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 Association, 110(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 biophysics, 504(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 : JAD, 64(2), 367–378. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180160
macular degeneration symptoms
Are you experiencing any macular degeneration symptoms?

AMD

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

Those with macular degeneration symptoms are probably unable to identify when their vision started to change. Eyesight declines gradually, so it’s not uncommon for those with the disease to keep running errands, watching television or continuing work on various projects. But suddenly, colors become darker. Seeing directly ahead becomes a struggle. Vision starts to erode. And when the diagnosis finally becomes real, it can be a devastating and depressing blow.

The struggle to stay independent is why so many stories of age-related macular degeneration (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 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 30 years. Exciting new research has given AMD sufferers some hope in battling 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 macular degeneration symptoms, 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 our family histories also put us at risk of developing the disease. If a member of your family has macular degeneration symptoms, your chances of getting the disease increases.

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 75 and older have AMD, and your chances of experiencing macular degeneration symptoms go 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 suffering from dry macular degeneration symptoms 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. Wet macular degeneration symptoms occur when new blood vessels grow underneath and into the macula. These irregular developments may leak fluid or blood, which blocks light from reaching the retina and harms its structure. Additionally, symptoms can occur when fluid builds up between the retina and a thin cell layer called the retinal pigment epithelium, causing distorted vision.

Macular Degeneration Symptoms

It can be difficult for people to know when macular degeneration symptoms 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 the disease 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 Macular Degeneration Symptoms Be Managed or Treated?

For anyone s­­truggling with macular degeneration symptoms, there is some hope. While there currently isn’t a cure for AMD, 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. Some personal changes include quitting smoking and eating a balanced diet.

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 dramatically reduce the risk of progression 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 macular degeneration symptoms.

AMD

macular degeneration progression timeline
Help determine where you stand visually with this macular degeneration progression timeline.

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

According to the CDC, the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) increases with age from 2% among people aged 40 to 44 to 46.6% among people aged at or greater than age 85. Data such as this can be scary, but there is a lot that you can do to reduce the risk of developing AMD and potentially slow its progression. While macular degeneration doesn’t always transition to vision loss, it can affect everyday tasks like reading, watching TV, and even recognizing the face of a loved one.

A macular degeneration diagnosis can be overwhelming, and many people want to know: how fast does macular degeneration progress? That’s why we’ve put together this macular degeneration progression timeline to help people categorize where they stand, what to expect in the future, and what they can do about it.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at each of the stages of macular degeneration, discuss what to expect, and answer common questions. Read on for more information.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease with an average age beginning around roughly 65 years old. At age 70, around 10 percent of individuals in the United States have an AMD diagnosis. It impacts central vision, with symptoms ranging from blurred or distorted eyesight to light sensitivity and difficulty seeing in low-light situations (e.g., driving at night). There are two main types of AMD: dry macular generation and wet macular degeneration. Before we delve into the macular degeneration progression timeline, let’s look at each in more detail.

What is Dry Macular Degeneration?

Dry AMD is the most common type of macular degeneration. This stage accounts for 80% to 90% of all cases. Healthcare professionals can spot the symptoms of dry macular degeneration as a progressive collection of yellowish spots or deposits called drusen that form under the retina.

In the case of people with dry macular degeneration, the biochemical pathways in the retina become dysfunctional, which leads to the buildup of the drusen in the retina. The buildup of drusen in the eye and biochemical pathways gives rise to excessive oxidative stress and inflammation. This can lead to irreversible damage to the retina’s light-sensing cells, which ushers in the aforementioned visual issues.

Patients suffering from dry macular degeneration experience central vision distortion and loss of vision over time. The dry macular degeneration progression timeline can be categorized into three stages, and it typically takes approximately five to ten years to reach the final stages.

The probability for developing dry AMD is determined primarily by genetics and lifestyle factors, like diet and exercise. The risk factors of dry macular degeneration include the following:

  • Age – It is common for symptoms of dry macular degeneration to appear in patients over 60 years old. 
  • Family history – Genetics can play a part in dry macular degeneration as it has a hereditary component. There are specific genes that are linked with this condition. Additionally, dry macular degeneration is more common in people of Caucasian descent. 
  • Obesity – Obesity can increase the chances of dry macular degeneration and the early stages of the condition and can lead to more advanced AMD cases.
  • Cardiovascular diseases – Heart or blood ailments can also cause patients to increase their chances of developing dry macular degeneration.
  • Smoking – Tobacco products can significantly increase the risk of developing dry macular degeneration.
  • Exercise – Regular, vigorous exercise is found to reduce the risk of AMD significantly. Sedentary behavior, therefore, is an important risk factor.

Dry macular degeneration can also lead to wet macular degeneration, the more severe form of the disease (more on this in the next section).

What is Wet Macular Degeneration?

Wet AMD, or late-stage AMD, is characterized by a more severe disease process involving leakage of blood into the retina and the growth of abnormal blood vessels. This ultimately results in the destruction of the light-sensitive retina and central visual blindness. This stage of AMD is relatively rare compared to dry AMD. Out of all macular degeneration conditions, wet macular degeneration accounts for approximately 20% of known cases. However, it is common for wet AMD to arise out of dry AMD.

Wet AMD often results in severe sight impairment or loss, which may happen rapidly. But exactly how quickly does wet macular degeneration progress? Although there is some variability, the wet macular degeneration timeline can take several months to progress from when symptoms appear to significant degeneration. In some cases, when left untreated, wet AMD can take mere days to advance to late-stage disease.

The factors that can increase the risk of wet macular degeneration are the same as dry macular degeneration. However, wet macular degeneration conditions can develop in a number of ways compared to dry macular degeneration. The different development causes are:

  • Vision loss caused by the irregular flow of blood vessel growth can cause leakages of blood and fluid from under the retina.
  • Vision loss caused by the buildup of fluid in the back of the eye. Fluid leaks build up in the back of the eye, resulting in the distortion or loss of vision.

What to Expect During the Macular Degeneration Progression Timeline

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with macular degeneration, you may be wondering how quickly does macular degeneration progress and what to expect during each stage. As mentioned earlier, the dry macular degeneration timeline can take an average of five to ten years. But if you have the wet form of the disease, your timeline might be shorter. 

Below are some common symptoms that affect patients diagnosed with macular degeneration:

  • Visual distortions such as straight lines looking bent or crooked.
  • Reduced central vision out of a single or both eyes.
  • Need for brighter lights when performing everyday activities, such as performing close-up work or reading.
  • Difficulty adapting to dark rooms or light levels, including movie theaters or dimly lit restaurants.
  • Increased blurriness and difficulty reading printed texts and words.
  • Difficulty recognizing people’s faces. 
  • Well-defined blurry spot or a blind spot that does not go away. 

These symptoms can occur throughout the three different stages of macular degeneration: early, intermediate and advanced. Each one of these stages has different effects on the patient’s vision. Let’s look at each stage of macular degeneration in more detail.

Early Stage Macular Degeneration

Early macular degeneration can also be considered pre-macular degeneration as there are minimal to no side effects, like vision loss or blurriness. Optometrists can discover this early stage of macular degeneration through a routine eye exam by checking the level of drusen building up in the retina. The buildup of drusen can happen long before symptoms appear, which is why it’s important to schedule regular eye exams.

Once an optometrist detects an early indication of drusen buildup, they will tell patients to come back for frequent eye exams to monitor their condition or check for any signs of macular degeneration progression. They may also recommend a change in diet or supplementation with key nutrients to help slow the progression of AMD. Even if the patient has no symptoms, it is crucial that they follow up with these appointments and follow all instructions.   

Intermediate Stage Macular Degeneration

The intermediate stage is when AMD patients often begin to experience symptoms, including vision loss, blurriness and requiring more light to perform daily activities. An intermediate-stage macular degeneration diagnosis is based on the number and size of drusen in the eye. During this stage, the level of drusen buildup starts to advance, resulting in an increased risk of progressing to the advanced stage and experiencing life-changing symptoms.

Diagnoses for the intermediate stage require the presence of multiple medium-sized drusen or at least one large drusen in one eye or both eyes of the patient. It also requires that the pigmentation of the retina changes to become “splotchy” and not uniform.

Advanced Stage Macular Degeneration (Wet AMD)

This is the final stage of macular degeneration. By this point, patients have probably experienced almost all of the symptoms of the condition, including vision loss, blurriness, blind spots and leaking of fluids.

As the disease progresses, patients can expect blind spots to occur that block the central part of their vision. The result is that patients can have difficulty reading, recognizing faces, telling time on a clock – pretty much anything that requires sharp central vision. Patients may still be able to use their peripheral vision (side vision), though they may be classified as legally blind.

Macular Degeneration FAQs

Living with macular degeneration can be frightening and stressful, and chances are you have questions. Let’s go over some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this common age-related eye condition.

Can you stop the progression of macular degeneration?

At the time of this article’s writing, there is AMD has no cure. However, there are ways to improve symptoms, including incorporating a healthy diet, regular exercise, quitting smoking, and taking supplements for macular degeneration.

Can macular degeneration cause blindness?

The short answer is yes, but not fully. Even the worst-case scenarios of advanced macular degeneration typically only lead to central vision loss, not complete blindness. But if you experience extensive vision loss, how long does it take to go blind from macular degeneration? It typically takes approximately 5-10 years to progress from early-stage macular degeneration to the advanced stages. In advanced stages, vision loss may be severe enough that patients may be legally considered blind and should not drive or use machinery.

What is high myopia macular degeneration?

High myopia macular degeneration can occur if you suffer from extreme myopia (i.e., short-sightedness). Because those with high myopia are at increased risk for AMD, most people with this condition want to know: how fast does high myopia macular degeneration progress? Because it’s still a form of macular degeneration, it takes approximately ten years to progress to advanced stages.

Minimize Your Risk of Macular Degeneration

It’s important to schedule regular eye examinations with an experienced optometrist to

minimize your risk of developing AMD and causing the disease to progress. In addition, it’s important to eat a healthy diet (including lots of fruits and vegetables), engage in regular exercise, refrain from smoking, and take high-quality carotenoid supplements from a trusted retailer.

MacuHealth’s scientifically formulated eye supplements are clinically proven to protect your vision as you age, thanks to their research-backed ingredients and ability to rebuild macular pigment. MacuHealth’s formulations contain all three carotenoids vital to maintaining eye health (Meso-Zeaxanthin, Lutein and Zeaxanthin). Shop our eye vitamins for macular degeneration today!