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

Five Books and Podcasts About AMD

Written by MacuHealth

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

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

My MacD Life​

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

Open Your Eyes with Dr. Kerry Gelb​

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

Studio 1​

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

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

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

Eat Right for Your Sight

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

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

MacuHealth

Written by MacuHealth

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

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

MacuHealth

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

MacuHealth Plus+

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

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

Flyer MacuHealth vs MacuHealth Plus+

References

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

MacuHealth

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.

MacuHealth

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.

MacuHealth

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.

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.

MacuHealth

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.

MacuHealth

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

A supplement label may promise to include a defined portion of active ingredients, but research shows that the truth could be vastly different. Cheap formulations and storage techniques can degrade nutrients, causing them to lose their bioavailability to light and oxidation, meaning you aren’t getting everything promised on the bottle.

“At present, clinicians and consumers are not adequately informed via product labeling,” stated Dr. David Phelan, Professor John Nolan and Dr. Alfonso Prado-Cabrero in their study on supplements in the journal Nutrients.1 “However, it is also important to point out that there are quality and effective carotenoid products on the market, which have scientific evidence to back up their claims of label and efficacy.”

MacuHealth enhances the stability of its Triple Carotenoid Formula with something called Micro-MicelleTM Technology. It allows the body to absorb nutrients inside the supplement at a significantly higher rate. In a recent clinical study, MacuHealth’s formula provided the highest bioavailability with significantly higher serum and retinal response when compared to a standard macular carotenoid supplement.2

But how does Micro-Micelle Technology work? We’ll explain the process and what it means to MacuHealth users.

Why Micro-Micelle Technology Matters?

As stated above, studies have shown that the active ingredients in most carotenoid supplements that come in the form of a powder or tablet corrode, causing their potency to diminish or disappear altogether.  This means your eyes won’t receive the necessary nutrients to boost your vision, absorb harmful blue light, or manage the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration.

MacuHealth, an oil-based supplement, is formulated to stabilize the powerful carotenoids – Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin – in its formula better than other supplements. But these nutrients, which appear in the supplement in their pure, natural form, tended to crystalize in the supplement’s previous version, making the carotenoids difficult for the body to absorb. Researchers started looking for a way to prevent these carotenoids from bonding together so more of them could reach the macula to enhance a patient’s vision.

How Does Micro-Micelle Technology Work?

Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin make their way to the macula through a protein in the body called SR-B1. Because these carotenoids were clumping together, SR-B1 wasn’t taking as many of them as it could to the eye. A system needed to be created to keep ingredients stable and from crystallizing.

The answer came in the form of natural, organic acids (acetate). When you add acetate to each end of the carotenoid molecule, they maintain their solubility,3 greatly enhancing bioavailability. Placing these non-crystallized carotenoids in a stabilizing matrix, such as Vitamin E and sunflower oil, prevents oxidation. 

The acetates prevented the carotenoids from crystalizing and provided a more efficient way for the SR-B1 protein to transport them to the macular tissues that need them. The utilization of Micro-Micelle Technology marks an improvement over previous iterations of MacuHealth by increasing the bioavailability of the supplement’s formula without any negative side effects. 4

What Does This Mean for MacuHealth Users?

Micro-Micelle Technology ensures that the nutrients inside MacuHealth retain their all-natural form, and that your eyes and brain receive the carotenoids needed to manage AMD symptoms and improve nearly all aspects of visual performance. In short, you’re getting everything you paid for and the benefits that come with it. “This formulation represents a new standard in nutritional vision science and eye care,” says Professor Nolan.

 

For more information about Micro-Micelle Technology and MacuHealth’s Triple Carotenoid Formula, please visit this page.

References

  1. Phelan D, Prado-Cabrero A, Nolan JM. Stability of Commercially Available Macular Carotenoid Supplements in Oil and Powder Formulations. Nutrients. 2017;9(10): 1133.­­
  2. Green Gomez et al 2020. Doi:10.3390/antiox9080767
  3. Torres-Cardona, MD, Torres-Quiroga, JO. Short-Chain Diesters and Process for Making the Same. U.S. Patent 5959138A, 28 September 1999.
  4. Green-Gomez M, Prado-Cabrero A, Moran R, Power T, Gómez-Mascaraque LG, Stack J, Nolan JM. The Impact of Formulation on Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and meso-Zeaxanthin Bioavailability: A Randomised Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Aug 18;9(8):767. doi: 10.3390/antiox9080767. PMID: 32824736.

MacuHealth

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

The lights seem a little brighter than usual. You squint for minutes until your focus readjusts, but you can’t shake this feeling that there’s something in your eyes. They feel gritty and rough as you constantly rub them. They feel itchy around your sockets, and your eyeballs are so sore and inflamed that your vision becomes blurred.

The above paragraph describes what it’s like living with dry eye. This frustrating, and many times chronic condition, affects nearly 16 million Americans, particularly older adults. The ocular irritation may be relieved with a bottle of eye drops, but the ingredients in some of these products actually exacerbate symptoms. What are some ways you can combat dry eye? We’ll share what causes it, who’s at risk, and some methods to treat it.

Causes of Dry Eye

Dealing with the symptoms of dry eye is enough to make you cry. But according to the American Optometric Association, the condition is caused by a lack of tears. Moisture spreads across the surface of the eye, lubricating and protecting them from foreign objects and infection. As we get older, tear production and drainage through the tear ducts become imbalanced. The glands in and around the eyelids produce fewer tears, or in some cases, make lower-quality droplets that evaporate quickly, causing them to spread unevenly around the eye.

Tear production can decrease for several reasons. In addition to aging, hormonal changes caused by pregnancy and menopause cause more women to experience dry eye. Other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and issues with the thyroid cause inflammation to develop. And certain medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants can also lead to fewer tears.

Environmental conditions have also caused symptoms to rise in younger people. Smoking and dry climates can intensify dry eye, as can an increase in screen time. When looking at electronic devices for an extended amount of time, our eyes blink less, which leads to a decrease in tear production.

Treatments for Dry Eye

Here are some simple ways to prevent dry eye symptoms:

  • Regularly blink your eyes when staring at electronic devices for an extended amount of time
  • Take a 20-second break from whatever you’re working on every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away
  • Keep blowing fans and heaters away from your face
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors to reduce exposure to wind and other weather conditions
  • Drink the recommended 8 to 10 glasses of water daily to keep your body and tear ducts hydrated
  • Use artificial tears and humidifiers to keep eyes moist

How Supplementing with Omega-3s Helps Dry Eye

Inflammation is at the root of dry eye, and unfortunately, there is no cure. But there are a variety of treatments that can manage symptoms. Most people turn to over-the-counter eye drops, but using them can make things worse. Some prescriptions control some of the underlying causes of dry eye, and there are also invasive procedures to help increase tear production or close the ducts to reduce tear loss.

Another way to soothe inflammation is by supplementing with Omega-3s. In addition to improving brain and heart health, an American Academy of Ophthalmology study shows consuming fish oil through seafood or supplements reduces dry eye symptoms. It also significantly lowers the risk of developing other retinal diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Yet many people are hesitant to go on a fish oil regimen because of the low-quality ingredients that cause odd-smelling “fishy burps.” The formula for the supplement TG Omega-3 by MacuHealth uses oils from small, traceable open-water fish refined to the highest purity and quality. This ensures optimum health, without the undesirable fish burps. 

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

MacuHealth

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

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

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

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

Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin

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

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

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

Carotenoids Aren’t Just for Eyes

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

MacuHealth

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 we can protect ourselves from blue light’s harmful effects. We’ll share the reasons why you should be concerned about long-term blue light exposure and 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 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.

Prolonged blue light exposure also strains the eyes and damages the macula, the part of your retina that processes your central vision. It accelerates the onset of age-related macular degeneration and lowers your ability to see objects at night. It also leads to dry, irritated eyes and headaches.

In older patients, blue light protection is even more important after cataract surgery. The eye’s lens blocks some blue light on its own. When a cataract is removed, patients lose that natural filter that the cataract provided, which increases their risk for AMD.

Blue Light’s Effect on 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.a

What Are Some Ways We Can Combat Blue Light?

20-20-20 Rule

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 give your eyes a rest 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. Try using artificial tears and humidifiers instead to keep your eyes moist and decrease headaches.

How Supplements Help with Blue Light

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.

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

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