Posted by: Carolinas Center for Sight in Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older, affecting more than 10 million Americans. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead.  In some people, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for a long time; in others, the disease may lead to a more rapid loss of vision.  While the causes of age-related macular degeneration are complex, several of the risk factors are controllable.  Smoking, being overweight overall and around the abdomen, and having unchecked cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure all increase a person’s risk for AMD.  Long-term exposure to the sun without eye protection is also a risk factor.

Some risk factors in AMD are not under anyone’s control.  Age is one of those factors; the older a person is, the more likely he or she is to have AMD.  Females are more susceptible to AMD than males are, not because they are more genetically prone to develop AMD, but because they live longer.  Family history of macular degeneration is universally believed to be a factor as well.  AMD is more common among Caucasians than among African-Americans or Hispanics.  Other risk factors include:  light-colored irises, far-sightedness, and high levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body. You might be able to reduce your risk of AMD or slow its progression by making these healthy choices:  avoid smoking, exercise regularly, maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels and eat a healthy diet rich in green, leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens and spinach along with fresh fruits.  Also eat fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids including salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and albacore tuna.  From the many carotenoids in the diet (e.g., yellow, orange or red pigments found in fruits, vegetables and eggs), the human retina selectively accumulates only two: zeaxanthin and lutein.  Their concentration is so high in the macula that the carotenoids are visible as a dark yellow spot called the macular pigment.  Because these carotenoids absorb harmful blue wavelength light, and because they are powerful antioxidants, scientists have hypothesized that they protect the retina.

Carolinas Centers for Sight, P.C. offers Eye Formula for Age-Related Macular Degeneration oral supplements which incorporate ocular nutrients such as Meso-Zeaxanthin, Lutein and Zeaxanthin in ratios that have been shown to support long-term eye health.  These and many more ingredients in Eye Formula are essential in preventative eye health as well as treatment for AMD.  The ingredients in Eye Formula are included in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS 2).  Eye Formula contains only natural herbal extracts that have shown no interaction with prescription medications.There are two basic types of macular degeneration: “dry” and “wet”.  Approximately 85% to 90% of the cases of macular degeneration are “dry”. Patients with “dry” form AMD may have good central vision (20/40 or better) but substantial functional limitations, including fluctuating vision, difficulty reading because of their limited central vision, limited vision at night or under conditions of reduced illumination.  In the “dry” type of macular degener-ation, the deterioration of the retina is associated with the formation of small yellow deposits, known as drusen, under the macula.  This phenomenon leads to a thinning and drying out of the macula, causing the macula to lose its function.  The amount of central vision loss is directly related to the location and amount of retinal thinning caused by the drusen.

In the “wet” type of AMD, about 10% to 15% of the cases, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and macula.  These new blood vessels may then bleed and leak fluid, causing the macula to bulge or lift up from its normal flat position, thus distorting or destroying central vision.  Under these circumstances, vision loss may be rapid and severe. 

The doctors at Carolinas Centers for Sight, P. C. have been treating patients with macular degeneration for a combined total of over 30 years.  Their knowledge, experience and expertise in the field of ophthalmology has helped many patients to improve their vision.