5 top tips to prevent Macula Degeneration
I've heard it called many things over the years: Maculo regeneration, mack thingy, maculose dryness, but even if you're not sure of the exact terminology, chances are you have heard about or know someone with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). It is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK and the main reason why as we get a little older our central vision fails us. This week is Macular Degeneration awareness week so we wanted to do our bit to help you prevent the condition with a very special offer.
So what is macular degeneration? There are two types of age-related macular degeneration, dry and wet. Both typically happen later in life and are rare under 50 years old.
Currently there is no treatment for dry macular degeneration and therefore prevention is the best chance at avoiding this condition. So read on for my 5 top tips to ward off macular degeneration.
Dry age-related macular degeneration causes a gradual deterioration of the macula, usually over many years, as the retinal cells die off and are not regenerated.
The name ‘dry’ does not mean the person has dry eyes, just that the condition is not ‘wet’ age-related macular degeneration. The progression of dry age-related macular degeneration varies but in most people it develops over many years. Often people carry on as normal for some time.
Macular degeneration affects a person's central vision. Gradually, over time, tasks such as reading can be become more difficult. If you have age-related macular degeneration in one eye, it may affect the other eye within a few years.
Around 10 to 15% of people with dry age-related macular degeneration develop wet age-related macular degeneration. The wet type is caused when fluid or blood leaks into the back of the eye and can cause quick deterioration to the vision over a matter of weeks or months. There are some treatments for wet macular degeneration but early diagnosis is key so if you have been diagnosed with dry macular degeneration or have a strong family history of the condition we recommend regular Spectralis 4D OCT eye scanning which can detect the earliest signs of both dry and wet macular degeneration as well as carefully monitoring any progression of the condition.
If you have dry age-related macular degeneration but notice a sudden change in your vision, you should always contact us urgently.
My 5 Top Tips to help slow down the onset of macular degeneration
1) Healthy eating & Macushield Did you know that your diet can impact on the long-term health of your eyes? Conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts can be influenced by what you eat. Research by the macular disease society shows that antioxidants in fruit and vegetables protect the eye against age-related damage. A healthy diet is essential to help prevent damage to the macular over time. Recent studies have shown that supplements containing lutein and zeaxanthin slow down the onset of macular degeneration and the use of a supplement called Macushield which contains an extra nutrient - meso-zeaxanthin has shown outstanding results in clinical studies.
There have recently been a large number of studies to see if increasing the intake of nutrients with certain supplements can further delay the onset of Macular Degeneration.
Paul Sieving, director of the National Eye Institute, said: “This is an exciting discovery because, for people at high risk for developing Macular degeneration, these nutrients are the first effective treatment to slow the progression of the disease. These nutrients will delay the progression of Macular degeneration in people who are at high risk. The nutrients are not a cure for AMD, nor will they restore vision already lost from the disease, but they will play a key role in helping people at high risk for developing advanced AMD keep their vision.”
It would be difficult to obtain the large amount of nutrients that the Macushield supplements can provide from a normal diet. Thus many professionals are recommending that people take nutritional supplements to improve their eye health, especially those who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration or have a strong family history. We give Macushield to both sets of our parents to help them guard against this age-related condition. To protect your eyes......
2) Regular eye examinations with Spectralis 4D OCT eye scanning
Having your eyes regularly scanned will help detect the earliest signs of change. Spectralis 4D OCT scanning helps spot the tiniest of changes early. If such changes are found and are treatable (in the case of wet macular degeneration) then early treatment can dramatically improve the effectiveness of the treatment. If you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, make sure you have your eyes examined and scanned once a year or immediately if you notice any visual deterioration. Call 01634 240645 or click here and we will call you back to book an appointment for advanced macular screening today.
3) UV protection
Did you know that wearing sunglasses with the correct UV protection can help prevent against sight loss from cataracts, macular degeneration, and melanomas?
Most of us are aware of the need for sun cream to protect our skin, but often forget about the damaging sun rays entering our eyes. Babies, children and those with blue or light coloured eyes are particularly susceptible to UV damage. It is recommended that babies from 6 months old start with Baby Banz sunglasses and all children and adults should be wearing sunglasses in bright weather in the same way that you protect your skin. All sunglasses should be fitted for the individual to ensure maximum protection. Click here to read more about the specialist Sunglasses we stock.
4) Do not smoke
Research has shown that macular degeneration is two to three times more prevalent amongst tobacco smokers and the more you smoke, the greater the risk and the faster the progression of the disease.
Fatty plaque deposits in the macular vessels can hamper blood flow, increase the risk of AMD, so stick to a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and get plenty of exercise.
6) Drink sensibly
Although smoking is the greatest known lifestyle factor to cause AMD, a recent study found that people who drank more than 20mg of alcohol per day had an approximately 20 percent increased risk of developing AMD (a standard glass of wine is approximately 15mg). The significance of alcohol on AMD is still being researched but not exceeding the daily recommended guidelines is a sensible start.