Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the major causes of vision loss affecting 1 million Canadians. It can occur among young people, but is common among those over the age of 50. The cause of AMD is not known, but there are several risk factors that make a person vulnerable to the condition. If you are over 50 and would like to slow down its progression, taking nutritional supplements is one of the things you can do in addition to adopting lifestyle changes.
What is AMD?
AMD affects the macula of the retina, which is the area at the centre of the retina that’s critical for vision. Over time, it causes central blindness, but leaves peripheral vision intact. Reading, driving and recognizing faces are difficult to achieve as you can only see blurry images or black spots at the center of your vision. The condition deteriorates as you age. You increase your chances of getting AMD if you are elderly, have a family history of the condition and are smoking. Ethnicity also plays a role with Caucasians at a higher risk compared to Blacks, for example. Other risk factors that may increase your risk of AMD include high blood pressure/heart disease and exposure to sunlight.
Vitamins to Protect Vision
Although not much can be done about genetics and hereditary medical conditions, lifestyle changes can delay the onset of AMD. Eating healthy foods and taking vitamin supplements is believed to slow down advanced AMD. If you are on a diet that is rich in green and leafy vegetables, your chances of developing AMD are also lower. However, it can be hard to consistently eat the recommended amount of nutrients for eye health protection through diet alone.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS 2) discovered that consuming certain carotenoids, vitamins and minerals can reduce the risk of getting advanced AMD by 25%. If you are part of a vulnerable group that has AMD, you might want to visit your eye doctor to assess your risks and determine whether taking an eye nutrient formula is right for you.
Researchers used specific amounts of certain nutrients in the AREDS 2 study. The AREDS 2 formula included 10 mg lutein, 2 mg zeaxanthin, 500 mg vitamin c, 400 IU vitamin E, 25 mg zinc, 2 mg copper, 350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid pigments normally found in fruits and vegetables that support visual acuity and help scavenge harmful reaction oxygen species generated by blue light and UV rays. Other phytonutrients such as grape seed extract and alpha lipoic acid also help to protect against free radicals and protect the eyes from damage.
Currently, studies are underway to develop treatments for AMD. Although the AREDS 2 formulation does not prevent the development of early AMD, it reduced the progression of the disease by 25% for those with an advanced stage of the condition. What is clear is that it is difficult to obtain all the necessary nutrients from diet alone, such that supplements are needed to boost our health as we get older. Doctor consultation is, however, recommended before taking supplements to complement your diet or to address AMD.
Total Vision Care is a comprehensive eye nutrient formula, and it is the only supplement recognized by The Vision Institute of Canada. If you’re concerned about AMD, consider taking Total Vision Care to provide your eyes with the nutritional defence they need to prevent the progression of the condition and protect your vision.