According to Boyd (2019) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with the retina and occurs when a part (macula) of the retina is damaged. With AMD a person will lose his/her central vision. Such a person would not be able to see fine details, whether the person is looking at something close or far. But the peripheral (side) vision will still be normal. For example, the person is looking at a clock with hands. With AMD, he or she might see the clock’s numbers but not the hands.
There are basically two types of AMD of which the dry type is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow. Drusen are made up of lipids, a fatty protein. Drusen do not cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But having drusen increases a person’s risk of developing AMD. The person will slowly lose central vision. There currently is no way to treat dry AMD.
Wet AMD is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. Vision is lost faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD. Often people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits to an ophthalmologist. He or she can look for early signs of AMD before a person has any vision problems.
Persons who have a risk for developing AMD:
- Eat a diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
- are overweight
- smoke cigarettes
- are over 50 years old
- have hypertension (high blood pressure)
- have a family history of AMD
- Having heart disease is another risk factor for AMD, as is having high cholesterol levels. Caucasians (white people) also have an elevated risk of getting AMD.
- Live a healthy lifestyle
- Follow an active exercise program
- Use The antioxidant
- Substance that inhibits oxidation and can guard the body from damaging effects of free radicals. Molecules with one or more unpaired electrons, free radicals can destroy cells and play a role in many diseases. Antioxidant vitamins include B, C and beta carotene. Shown here are bilberries, which are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants may help prevent macular degeneration and other eye diseases; many studies are in progress. More about nutrition and the eyes.
Vitamin formulae used in the first AREDS study contained the following ingredients:
- vitamin C – 500 mg
- vitamin E – 400 IU
- beta-carotene – 15 mg
- zinc – 80 mg (as zinc oxide)
- copper – 2 mg (as cupric oxide)
The results of AREDS1, published in 2001, revealed patients at high risk of progressive AMD who took the daily antioxidant and zinc supplement had up to a 25 percent reduced risk of their macular degeneration progressing to an advanced stage (depending on the degree of AMD present at the start of the trial), compared to matched participants who took a daily placebo pill.