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Early Stage Macular Degeneration Advice

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Early Stage Macular Degeneration Advice

Early Stage Macular Degeneration Advice

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is categorized into four main stages: 
Early, Intermediate, Advanced, and Wet 
In its early stages, the following signs of macular degeneration can go unnoticed. Though some may experience:
  • The gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
  • The shape of objects appears distorted
  • Straight lines look wavy or crooked
  • Loss of clear color vision
  • A dark or empty area in the center of vision
There is no cure for AMD and any loss in vision cannot be restored. As a result, it is important that we focus on doing our part to help prevent the progression of the disease. Studies show that nutrition, proper health control, avoiding smoking, and proper UV protection are pivotal in combating progression at the earliest form of the disease. 
Two carotenoids, lutein (pronounced loo-teen) and zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-uh-zan-thin)filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and help protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes. Of the 600 carotenoids found in nature, only these two are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye. Unfortunately, the human body does not naturally make the lutein and zeaxanthin it needs. This is why eating green vegetables is important. Getting daily amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin through your diet can help maintain good eye health.  Significant evidence points to a goal of 10 mg of lutein daily.
Because of the apparent benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin, many nutritional companies have added these carotenoids to their multiple vitamin formulas.  A typical amount of lutein included in a multivitamin is 250 mcg (micrograms).  This is 0.25 mg (milligrams), well short of the 10 mg goal.  Others have introduced eye vitamins that are predominantly lutein and zeaxanthin supplements. It is unknown at this time whether supplements have the same effect as lutein and zeaxanthin obtained through food sources.
Popular lutein and zeaxanthin supplements include:
  • MacuHealth with LMZ3 (MacuHealth LLC)
  • EyePromise Zeaxanthin (Zeavision)
  • ICaps Eye Vitamin Lutein & Zeaxanthin Formula (Alcon)
  • Ocuvite (Bausch + Lomb)
The source of lutein in many lutein supplements is marigold flowers, while for zeaxanthin it is often red peppers. If you choose a lutein and zeaxanthin supplement, make sure it’s a high quality product from a reputable dietary supplement company.
In addition to diet and proper health control, it is important for early AMD patients to monitor their macular health while away from the doctor’s office. The Amsler grid is a great way to self-check any changing irregularities in the retina.

To use the Amsler grid, follow these steps once a day, every day:

  1. Wearing any glasses you normally use to read, hold the grid 12 to 15 inches away from your face in a well-lit environment.
  2. Cover one eye.
  3. Look directly at the center dot with your uncovered eye and keep your eye focused on it.
  4. While looking directly at the center dot, notice in your side vision if all grid lines look straight or if any lines or areas look blurry, wavy, dark, or blank.  If you notice any changes, contact your eye doctor right away.
  5. Follow the same steps with the other eye.


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