Macular Degeneration: Stages, Supplements and Prevention Tips
Macular degeneration is a common eye condition among people over the age of 50. It causes blurred vision due to the thinning of the macula. The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for clear vision in direct line of sight.
It usually develops in one eye and eventually affects both the eyes. The vision may worsen over time and affect your ability to do tasks like reading or driving. However, that does not mean that you will lose your sight completely.
3 Stages of Macular Degeneration
Early macular degeneration is the first stage where there are neither symptoms nor vision loss. It can only be detected by the eye doctor during a retinal exam.
It can be identified as small or medium-sized granular spots in the retina. The ophthalmologist will detect any changes in the retina.
During the early stage, the vision can remain normal and unchanged. Not everyone with the granular spots will develop symptoms of macular degeneration.
You need to protect your retinal health if detected with early stage of macular degeneration. If you don’t, it may progress to the next stage that causes blurry vision.
In this stage, the number of granular spots will increase, with one or more of them being large, soft and irregular shaped.
You will start to see the symptoms at this stage, some of which include the need for more light or blurred spot in the middle of one’s vision. Larger spots point towards a higher risk of developing wet macular degeneration.
As the spots become larger and higher in number, they will prevent the nutrients from getting to the macula. This will cause an accumulation of waste products. Due to this, the Retinal Pigment Epithelial cells (RPE) will waste away and die.
In this stage, two things can happen:
- There will be a breakdown of light-sensitive cells and supporting tissue in the central retinal area, leading to advanced dry form, or
- There will be a development of fragile and abnormal blood vessels under the retina, thus causing wet form.
The third stage of macular degeneration causes the blurred spot to get bigger and darker. Those with advanced macular degeneration in one eye will be at a high risk of developing it in the other eye.
If not addressed immediately, it may cause vision loss.
The following combination of supplements is recommended for people with signs of age-related macular degeneration:
- Vitamin C: 500gm
- Vitamin E: 400 IU
- Vitamin D3: 1000 – 2000 IU
- Lutein: 6 – 10gm
- Zeaxanthin: 2mg
- Zinc: 20 – 80mg
- Copper: 2mg
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 1000mg (fish oil if not eating fish)
This combination of carotenoids, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids is also recommended for those with a family history of the disease.
Tips for Preventing Macular Degeneration
- Study shows that smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to have macular degeneration. If you smoke, it is time to quit.
- Increase the intake of leafy vegetables as they are rich in carotenoids.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Monitor your blood pressure and control your cholesterol can it protect you from macular degeneration.
- Include multi-vitamin supplements in your routine. As you get older, it may get difficult to obtain all nutrients from the diet.
- Wear protective eyewear like sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV rays and bluelight.
- Visit the ophthalmologist regularly to get your eyes checked. Since eye exams are the only way to identify the first stage, it is crucial you don’t miss the necessary appointments.
With proper eye care, early detection and self-care, you can delay the vision loss caused by macular degeneration.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.
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