There are two forms of macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration affects about 90% of those with the disease and causes gradual loss of central vision, initially only in one eye. Wet macular degeneration, which accounts for 90% of all severe vision loss from the disease, involves a very sudden loss of central vision.
Signs and Symptoms
Macular degeneration is accompanied by the following signs and symptoms:
- Slightly blurred vision
- Dry type: a blurred spot in the central field of vision, which may become larger and darker
- Wet type: straight lines that appear wavy and the rapid loss of central vision; sometimes, wet macular degeneration starts with a sudden blind spot
What Causes It?
Dry macular degeneration occurs from the breakdown of the light sensitive cells in the center of the retina, called the macula. Wet macular degeneration occurs when new blood vessels behind the retina grow toward the macula and leak blood and fluid.
Who's Most At Risk?
People with the following conditions or characteristics are at risk for developing macular degeneration:
- Age-the risk increases with age
- Cigarette smoking
- Family history of macular degeneration
- Cardiovascular disease
- Elevated levels of cholesterol
- Light eye color
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
Antioxidants that protect your retina-such as carotenoids, selenium, zinc, and vitamins C and E-may either delay the progression of macular degeneration if you already have the eye condition (meaning that your vision won't get worse as quickly) or prevent the development of this serious eye disorder. Two particular carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, may be particularly beneficial. Antioxidants can be obtained from foods or supplements.
Eating a diet high in vitamins C and E and carotenoids is likely all that you need to lower your chances of developing macular degeneration in the first place. (In other words, supplements are probably not necessary for prevention.) Vegetables rich in carotene include orange and yellow squash, and dark, leafy greens, such as kale, collards, spinach, and watercress.
Suggested Nutritional Supplementation
- Appropriate Wellness EssentialsTM formula - 1-2 packets daily
Key Vitamins & Minerals, Essential Fatty Acids, PLUS Patient Specific Nutrition.
- Visio PlexTM - 8 capsules daily with food in divided doses
Nutrients and Herbs to Nourish the Eyes
- Lutein - 1 to 2 capsules twice daily
A Naturally Occurring Carotenoid
- FirstLine Therapy® Diet
The statements on this book have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.