Age related macular degeneration is a condition that may make it difficult to drive, read, sew, watch TV or focus on anything that requires ‘straight ahead’ central vision. It affects about 10 million older adults now, and that number will increase as the number of baby boomers age.
The best way to prevent vision loss is to have an eye examination at the first sign of trouble. In some cases, AMD advances so slowly that people notice very little change in their vision. In other cases, AMD progresses quickly and can lead to significant vision loss.
Symptoms of AMD:
- A gradual loss in the ability to see objects clearly
- Objects seem distorted in shape or straight lines appear wavy or crooked
- Having a dark, or empty, area appearing in the center of vision
Risk factors for AMD:
- A family history of the disease
- Unprotected UV ray exposure
Additional risk factors include: obesity, uncontrolled high blood pressure, Caucasian race and female gender.
Medical research shows that Zinc, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Vitamins A, C, and E may help to slow the progression of AMD. A study by the AMA found that people who consumed foods with above average amounts of nutrients had a 35% lower risk of developing AMD than those who consumed below-average amounts.
Popeye may have been on to something with his spinach. Findings have shown that lutein can actually reverse AMD in its very early stages. Lutein works to increase the density of macular pigment. Patients who are 3-4 portions of spinach each week experienced positive results in 12 weeks.