What You Need to Know About Macular Health

ViteyesEye Health, Macular Health, Research

AMD: What You Should Know

Here are some questions and general information about age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is an all-to-common threat to your eyes (please consult your physician should you have any questions regarding AMD):”

What is the macula?

The macula is the central part of the retina of the eye. All your reading vision, or “fine vision”, takes place in the macula. Every time you look directly at something, you are using the macula. “macula”

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of permanent vision loss in Americans over age 60. In people who have AMD, the central fine vision needed for “straight ahead” viewing, such as reading and driving, is damaged. While there is no cure, there now is a way to lessen the risk of vision loss from AMD. Click here to learn more.

Two Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration:

Dry age-related macular degeneration – Dry age-related macular degeneration is the most common form of AMD. Dry age-related macular degeneration is characterized by small yellow deposits called “drusen” that occur under the macula. Drusen may cause the cells in the macula to deteriorate causing loss of central vision.

Wet age-related macular degeneration –Wet age-related macular degeneration occurs less frequently than dry age-related macular degeneration, however, wet age-related macular degeneration is responsible for most age-related macular degeneration related vision loss. Wet age-related macular degeneration occurs when new blood vessels start to develop under the retina causing hemorrhage, swelling, and scarring. Such growth can damage the macula resulting in central vision loss.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Causes

In general, scientists do not know what causes Age-Related Macular degeneration but believe it is linked to age, genetic, smoking, sunlight exposure, and nutrition.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Symptoms and Signs

In the first stages of AMD, typically the dry state, it’s possible no symptoms will be experienced. However, drusen (see above) can be detected by a doctor during a dilated exam. An eye doctor usually notices the first indicator of this disease during a routine visit. However, as AMD becomes more severe patients may experience loss of central vision, difficulty reading, difficulty performing tasks that require the ability to see detail, or distorted vision (straight lines that may appear to be wavy).

AMD Treatments

According to certain doctors, in some cases of wet age-related macular degeneration, laser treatment is sometimes effective for stopping bleeding blood vessels. Currently, there is no treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration. However, according to the AREDS2 study, taking AREDS2 based supplements may help lower the risk of AMD.

What is AREDS?

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was a major ten-year study sponsored by the National Eye Institute, part of the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health. The study, completed in late 2001, found that people at high risk of developing advanced stages of AMD lowered their risk by about 25% when treated with a high-dose combination of antioxidants plus zinc.

What is AREDS 2?

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS 2) was a follow up five-year study also sponsored by the National Eye Institute. This study was completed in 2013 and focused on refining the formula from the original AREDS study. This study recommended that the original AREDS formula be revised to omit beta-carotene and replace it with 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin.

Who should take these vitamins?

The study found that patients with intermediate AMD or advanced AMD in one eye but not the other were more likely to benefit. Your eye care doctor will tell you if you should be taking Viteyes®.