Macular Degeneration and Nutritional supplements
Degeneration and Nutritional Supplements
macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease caused by damage or breakdown of the macula,
the small part of the eye's retina that is responsible for our central vision.
This condition affects both distance and close vision and can make some
activities-like threading a needle or reading-very difficult or
impossible. Macular degeneration is the
leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 65.
the exact causes of AMD are not fully understood, a recent scientific study
shows that antioxidant vitamins and zinc may reduce the impact of AMD in some
people with the disease.
people at high risk for late-stage macular degeneration (those with intermediate
AMD in both eyes or advanced AMD in one eye), a dietary supplement of vitamins
C, E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowered the risk of the disease
progressing to advanced stages by about 25 to 30 percent. However, the
supplements did not appear to benefit people with minimal AMD or those who have
no evidence of macular degeneration.
may affect the eye by stimulating oxygen, leading to the production of highly
reactive and damaging compounds called free radicals. Antioxidant
vitamins (vitamins C and E and beta carotene) may work against this activated
oxygen and help slow progress of macular degeneration.
one of the most common minerals in our body, is very concentrated in the eye,
particularly in the retina and macula. Zinc is necessary for the action of over
100 enzymes, including chemical reactions in the retina. Studies show some
older people have low levels of zinc in their blood. Because zinc is important
for the health of the macula, supplements of zinc in the diet may slow down the
process of macular degeneration.
levels of antioxidants and zinc that were shown to be effective in slowing
AMD's progression cannot be consumed through your diet alone. These vitamins
and minerals are recommended in specific daily amounts as supplements to a
healthy, balanced diet.
very important to remember that vitamin supplements are not a cure for AMD, nor
will they restore vision you may have already lost from the disease. However,
specific amounts of certain supplements do play a key role in helping some
people at high risk for advanced AMD to maintain their vision. You should speak
with your ophthalmologist to determine if you are at risk for developing
advanced AMD, and to learn if supplements are recommended for you.