Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is the single largest cause of sight loss in the developed world and affects more than 10 million Americans. It usually affects people over the age of 60 but has been known to affect those who are younger. It is a painless condition that usually affects both eyes, and the loss is experienced in the central vision. It does not affect the peripheral vision, meaning that it doesn’t cause total blindness.
AMD is a chronic condition that causes central vision loss and affects millions of Americans:
It's a leading cause of blindness in adults aged 60 and older
It occurs when the macula—part of the retina that lets you see the color and fine detail—becomes damaged
It's important to learn the symptoms of AMD now
If you are experiencing symptoms of AMD, make an appointment to see Dr. Kramer or another eye doctor right away
Early detection is key to avoiding vision loss
Age-related macular degeneration, often called AMD or ARMD, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among Americans who are age 60 and older. Because people in this group are an increasingly larger percentage of the general population, vision loss from macular degeneration is a growing problem.
AMD is the degeneration of the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for the sharp, central vision needed to read or drive. Because the macula primarily is affected in AMD, central vision loss may occur.
About 1.75 million U.S. residents currently have advanced age-related macular degeneration with associated vision loss, with that number expected to grow to almost 3 million by 2020.*
Wet and Dry Forms of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is diagnosed as either dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular). Neovascular refers to the growth of new blood vessels in an area, such as the macula, where they are not supposed to be. Macular degeneration mainly affects central vision, causing "blind spots" directly ahead.
The dry form is more common than the wet form, with about 85 to 90 percent of AMD patients diagnosed with dry AMD. The wet form of the disease usually leads to more serious vision loss.
Dry Macular Degeneration (non-neovascular). Dry AMD is an early stage of the disease and may result from the aging and thinning of macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the macula or a combination of the two processes.
Dry macular degeneration is diagnosed when yellowish spots known as drusen begin to accumulate in and around the macula. It is believed these spots are deposits or debris from deteriorating tissue.
Gradual central vision loss may occur with dry macular degeneration but usually is not nearly as severe as wet AMD symptoms. However, dry AMD through a period of years slowly can progress to late-stage geographic atrophy (GA) — gradual degradation of retinal cells that also can cause severe vision loss.
The macula is the most sensitive part of the retina and is responsible for our central vision and what allows us to see fine details with clarity.
Wet AMD is one variety of the condition in which abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula, leaking blood or fluid which then causes scarring and a rapid loss of central vision. Wet AMD can develop suddenly and rapid referral to a specialist is essential as it can be treated if caught quickly.
Dry AMD is the most common variety of age-related macular degeneration and is a gradual deterioration of the retina as the cells die off over time and are not regenerated. Up to 15% of people with dry AMD go on to develop wet AMD, and so any sudden changes in your vision should be followed up with your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
Macular degeneration affects each person differently, which means that is can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, particularly as you may not notice any change in your vision early on in the condition. However, as the cells deteriorate, you will start to see an increasing range of symptoms, including:
Distortion or bends in what should be straight lines (such as lampposts or door frames)
Dark spots in your central vision
Difficulty adapting from dark to light environments
Objects may appear to change shape, size or color, or may move or disappear
Bright light may be difficult to tolerate
Words may disappear while you are reading
Unfortunately, there is no clear reason as to what triggers the process that causes macular degeneration. However, you are at an increased risk if you have a family history of the condition, or if you are over 60.
Experts suggest that the best thing you can do to minimize any potential risk is to ensure that you live a healthy, active lifestyle. You can do this by:
Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
Moderating your alcohol consumption
Maintaining a healthy weight
Getting regular exercise
There is also some limited research that suggests that eating leafy, green vegetables can slow the deterioration of vision in cases of dry AMD.
Sadly, there is currently no cure for either a variety of AMD. In the case of dry AMD, the treatments suggested are done so with the aim of aiding the patient to make the most of their remaining vision. This can include things such as using magnifying glasses to help with reading.
Wet AMD can be treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medication. This should stop further blood vessels from developing and stop your vision from deteriorating further.
Occasionally, laser therapy is suggested as a possible treatment for destroying abnormal blood cells, but this is only suitable for cases of wet AMD and usually, only around 1 in 7 sufferers may be potential candidates for this procedure.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding macular degeneration, we highly recommend that you speak with your professional optometrist who will be happy to assist you.
Our exposure to Blue Light, or High-Energy-Visible Light (HEV) as it's also known, has increased alarmingly with the advent of energy-efficient lighting, LED displays, smartphones, computer screens, and other electronics. Light at this wavelength has been linked to accelerating the risk of Macular Degeneration, weight gain, and sleep problems.
Low Macular Pigment (MP) is a major risk factor for Macular Degeneration.
MacuHealth with LMZ3 is a patented nutritional supplement that contains all three components found in the Macula: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-Zeaxanthin.
While you can obtain the first two through a balanced diet high in green leafy vegetables, Meso-Zeaxanthin, like Lutein and Zeaxanthin are not found in a sufficient amount in the diet thus the need for supplementation with Macuhealth with LMZ3. It is converted in the retina from ingested lutein. Macular degeneration patients have 30% less meso-zeaxanthin and may have the inability to adequately produce the required amount. Here's where MacuHealth with LMZ3 can help.
Recent studies have proven that meso-zeaxanthin, if taken in a supplement such as MacuHealth with LMZ3, effectively increases macular pigment levels and, in some cases, even restores macular pigment to normal levels.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are dietary carotenoids (pigments) that filter damaging high energy blue wavelength light from the visible-light spectrum by as much as 90%. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are also antioxidants and therefore protect against the damage caused by harmful molecules that are produced through normal body processes, such as oxygen metabolism, these are called free radicals. Environmental sources of free radicals include cigarette smoke, air pollutants, radiation, certain drugs, and environmental toxins.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are obtained through food and are found primarily in broccoli, corn, squash and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Meso-Zeaxanthin is obtained by an enzyme conversion of Lutein to Meso-Zeaxanthin in the macula. It is not found in a typical diet.
Meso-Zeaxanthin, the most potent antioxidant of the three carotenoids, is only found in the center portion of the macula where vision is sharpest. Meso-Zeaxanthin is obtained converting ingested Lutein inside the retina and is not found in the diet. Most Macular Degeneration patients have 30% less Meso-Zeaxanthin in their macula* and show an inability to convert Lutein into Meso-Zeaxanthin. Supplementation with MacuHealth with LMZ3 will ensure that this crucial component of macular pigment accumulates in the target tissue (i.e. the central macula) in a way that is not dependent on an enzyme converting Lutein to Meso-Zeaxanthin