Guardion Health Sciences
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease characterized by the deterioration of the macula, which is the central part of the retina responsible for sharp, fine detail and color perception. AMD typically begins with few visible symptoms, but as it progresses, the disease can cause blurry or reduced central vision, drastically impacting everyday life.
Macular Degeneration at a Glance
- AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among people age 60 and older, according to the Bright Focus Foundation.
- Approximately 11 million Americans suffer from AMD, a number that is expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050.
- AMD is expected to affect 196 million people worldwide by 2020, and 288 million by 2040.
- Age is one of the biggest risk factors for AMD. The risk of getting AMD increases from 2 percent for individuals ages 50 to 59, to nearly 30 percent for individuals over the age of 75.
There are two types of AMD:
Dry AMD, also known as non-neovascular macular degeneration, is the early stage and most common form of the disease. Approximately 90 percent of all AMD cases are dry. In dry AMD, the retinal pigment epithelial cells in the macula gradually thin and atrophy. As this occurs, tiny yellowish dots called drusen begin to build up on the macula, damaging it and leading to vision loss. Vision loss with dry AMD is generally gradual. About 10 percent of dry AMD patients progress to wet AMD. Treatment of wet AMD occurs through a series of injections in the back of the eye, but the wet form often leads to blindness. Therefore it is important to restore and maintain the macular pigment for those who have dry AMD or those at risk of AMD (see a list of those at risk below).
Wet AMD, also known as neovascular macular degeneration, is characterized by the growth of new blood vessels in the retina. The vessels can leak blood and fluid in the retina, causing scar tissue to form. Vision loss with wet AMD can progress quickly, and therefore prompt treatment is necessary to avoid irreversible vision loss.
Who Is at Risk?
In addition to age, there are a number of other factors that can increase one’s risk of developing AMD, including:
- Lighter skin and eye color
- Obesity and inactivity (sedentary lifestyle)
- High blood pressure
Common Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Early stages of AMD may not exhibit noticeable symptoms. Once, the disease progresses, symptoms may include:
- Blurry or fuzzy vision
- Distorted vision
- Fuzzy or distorted vision
- Sudden deterioration of vision
- Shadowed central vision (blind spots)
- Blurred distance and/or reading vision
- Diminished facial recognition
- Impaired color vision
- Changes in bright to low light vision
- Reduced contrast sensitivity
Nutrition and AMD
Currently, there is no cure for AMD. However, there are ways to delay the progression of the disease.
Research shows that increasing the intake of carotenoids can reduce the risk of developing AMD. A carotenoid is an organic pigment produced by plants and algae. Carotenoids also make up the macular pigment, the part of the macula that protects the eye from harmful UV rays and oxidative damage. Excessive UV radiation and oxidative damage have been linked to several eye conditions and diseases, including AMD. There are three carotenoids that make up the macular pigment: lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin. Studies show that when patients increase carotenoid levels through supplementation, improvements are noted in macular pigment levels, contrast sensitivity and overall retinal health.
Damaging Ultraviolet Light, or UV (400 to 500 nm), is the blue part of the visible spectrum. Excessive UV exposure is linked to higher risk for AMD.
This image shows how different colors of light enter the eye. Unless the blue light is absorbed by the macular pigment, it goes straight to the back of the eye and can cause significant damage.
How Does Lumega-Z Protect The Eye?
Lumega-Z protects the eye by restoring and maintaining the macular pigment, which blocks the damaging blue(UV) light waves, and by stopping and even repairing oxidative damage. Watch this video below as Dr. Rick Sponsel explains how Lumega-Z works to protect your eyes.
Dr Sponsel Explains how Lumega-Z Protects the Eye
Carotenoid Supplementation is Needed for Healthy Eyes
Unfortunately, the body does not naturally produce carotenoids, so they have to be consumed. Green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach, broccoli, collards) and eggs are good sources of carotenoids, but unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to consume enough carotenoids in the diet to maintain a robust macular pigment. This is particularly true as we age, because our bodies lose the ability to properly digest and extract carotenoids from food. Specially formulated supplements, such as Lumega-Z, that include the proper levels of carotenoids and other key antioxidants, are needed in order to maintain a healthy macular pigment and retina. The benefits of carotenoids go beyond lowering the risk of AMD. Research from CREST (Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trial) shows that carotenoids are linked to vision improvement in healthy patients free of eye disease, particularly improvement in night vision and low contrast settings.
Individuals that have been diagnosed with AMD or have an increased risk of developing the disease should speak with their eye doctor to discuss adding nutritional therapy to their diet.
Contact Guardion Health Sciences to learn more about replenishing macular pigment and boosting eye health with Lumega-Z.