Eleven million people in the U.S. alone suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). By 2050, this number will double. AMD is one of the primary factors responsible for destroying vision in middle age, and too few people take action to stop or prevent the process. But what can you do to prevent this disorder? Can changing what you eat help prevent macular degeneration? More specifically, can antioxidants delay macular degeneration?
The fact is that while aging (and aging of your eyes) cannot be avoided, the natural aging process does not have to result in a loss of your visual acuity, and certainly not in a complete vision loss. Instead of going through life believing that there is nothing you can do to protect your eyes, how about tapping into the wonderful world of antioxidants to give your body and eyes a much needed boost?
What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration most commonly shows up in people around 55 years of age or older. In fact, AMD is the leading cause of blindness in America in this age group. AMD affects 14 to 24 percent of the 65-and-older population. One in three people older than 75 suffers from this disorder.
The growing number of people affected by AMD is becoming more concerning as time passes. This is because as the number of people in the senior demographic increases, so does the healthcare cost surrounding AMD. Researchers estimate that AMD costs the United States $98 billion annually, and if the number of cases does truly double by 2050, the cost will be staggering.
Why Is Treating AMD so Difficult?
In a country that is so reliant upon medical technology, AMD is a trying vision complication because corrective lenses can do little to assist those with the condition.
The reason corrective lenses don’t really work lies in the biology of the eye and how AMD damages it. The macula is located in the center of the retina and is the primary part of the eye responsible for our central vision. It is also essential for reading. The macula is where the light-sensitive cells of the eye are located; basically, it is the region of maximum visual acuity.
Two Types of AMD
There are also two types of AMD: dry and wet. In dry macular degeneration, light-sensitive cells of the macula slowly break down, impeding your eyesight by causing your central vision to become fuzzy. Dry macular degeneration is the most common type of AMD, accounting for 90 percent of diagnosed cases.
Wet macular degeneration is usually preceded by dry, and often progresses suddenly. The wet form of this disease is caused by blood vessels leaking fluid into your macula. This form accounts for only 10 percent of cases, but 90 percent of blindness caused by AMD.
Unfortunately, prescriptions cannot fix the damage caused by AMD. This creates a situation in which the individual suffering from macular degeneration can no longer do most of the things that kept them high-functioning and independent, including driving. This loss of freedom causes this disease to take a psychological toll on those affected as well.
To further complicate the situation, the 55+ age group is the fastest growing age group within the United States. The aging population causes increased healthcare dependency every year, and it is left to public health officials, as well as the aging American population, to seek other forms of vision health assistance. As our population continues to age, these issues will only get worse. What can you as an individual do today to lower your risk of AMD?
Antioxidants Can Delay Macular Degeneration
Are you coming up on middle age? Know someone who is? Do you know someone affected by AMD? Well, researchers looking into the area of alternative treatment and prevention methods for AMD have found great promise in the form of antioxidant supplementation.
Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, copper, and alpha-lipoic acid were all identified as antioxidants that can delay macular degeneration. This combination may even be beneficial in reducing your risk of AMD development. Taking a multivitamin geared toward eye health, like our Ocu-Plus Formula, can help provide you with the aforementioned antioxidants. Vitamins can also provide additional supplementation for improved eye health and eye disease prevention.
Researchers found one caveat to this advice, however. The use of lutein by smokers or former smokers can increase the risk for lung cancer. Never fear! There is still a safe way to get the necessary nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed to maintain healthy vision. If you’re a smoker, substitute the lutein portion of your antioxidant formula for beta carotene and zeaxanthin.
Take Extra Care of Your Eyes: Take Antioxidants to Delay Macular Degeneration
It is extremely important that you consume vitamins in clinically safe doses at all times. In some cases, taking higher than recommended amounts of vitamins like A and E can increase your risk for serious harm or, in rare cases, even death. However, taking supplements as instructed is beneficial.
There are many vitamins you can take to promote better eye health in general. When you are looking for a supplement to help prevent AMD, choose one that is rich in carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin as well as other beneficial vitamins like C and A. This will ensure you are taking a balanced supplement.
So, if you can’t get the needed antioxidants and vitamins through natural foods, take a safe, formulated supplement from a trusted source to jump start your AMD prevention routine. Healthy foods like kale, carrots, broccoli, olives, spinach and almonds all contain these powerful antioxidants. But, we understand that it’s not always easy to keep up with a healthy diet with today’s busy lifestyles. A formulated supplement will help replace any nutrients you may be missing and provide you with the antioxidants that delay macular degeneration.
Then, work on getting healthy physically. A balanced diet along with regular exercise can really make a difference in general well-being. It can also give your eyes the boost they need to stay healthy, strong and happy, and reduce the risk of developing AMD.