Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration (AMD, Age-related macular degeneration) is most common in people over 50, but can appear as early as age 40. As life expectancy increases, the disease is becoming a significant problem with thousands of people being diagnosed each year. Millions of older people experience blurred or distorted vision from macular degeneration, which can put an end to activities such as reading and driving. In fact, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects one in three people over the age of 75 and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among adults.

What is the macula?

The macula-about the size of a pencil eraser-is a tiny, yellowish area near the centre of the retina that allows you to clearly distinguish fine detail.

What is macular degeneration (AMD)?

Macular degeneration is the slow deterioration of the cells in the macula, which affects your central vision, the vision you use for reading, writing, driving, and identifying faces. In some people, AMD advances so slowly that it will have little effect on their vision as they age. But in others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes.

Common symptoms of AMD

Normally straight objects appear bent or wavy. 

A dark, bland or blurry spot appears in the centre of your vision. 

When you cover one eye, the object you're looking at changes size or colour.

What causes macular degeneration?

There are two kinds, the dry type and the wet type: 90 percent of people have the dry type, in which small, yellow spots called drusen form underneath the macula. Scientists are still not sure what causes dry AMD. Studies suggest that an area of the retina becomes diseased, leading to the slow breakdown of the light-sensing cells in the macula and a gradual loss of central vision. Dry macular degeneration can progress to the second, more severe type called wet macular degeneration

Although only 10 percent of all people with AMD have the wet type, it accounts for 90 percent of all blindness from the disease. As dry AMD worsens, new blood vessels may begin to grow and cause "wet" AMD. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile, and they often leak blood and fluid under the macula, which further deteriorates the macula, causing rapid and severe vision loss.

Eating lutein- and zeaxanthin-rich foods or taking supplements of these carotenoids can restore macular pigment density, which declines with age. In fact, one such study of AMD patients who were taking high-dose lutein supplements(4 mg or more per day) experienced normal levels after a few months.

An important case-control study by researchers at the University of Florida, found that healthy eating that includes diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin could lower the risk of AMD as much as 82% compared with those outside that group.(Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2001 Jan;42(1)235-40).

Supplementation with Zeaxanthin and Lutein is designed to help restore the macular pigment density inside the eye which will begin building up again over time, but this is not an overnight process. It should improve over the course of six months, during which time it will help to restore the body's own natural defences against free radical damage which will stop further degradation. Up until now AMD has been considered irreversible and this supplementation is only aimed at helping to prevent further advancement of AMD - but by combining this supplementation with Bright Eyes Drops