Macular Degeneration is an age-related disease of the eye which can result in partial blindness. The macula, which is a small spot in the middle of the retina, controls the center of the field of vision. If one eye is unaffected, it may compensate for the other eye’s loss of vision so that the sufferer may not even notice it in its early stages. The first manifestation of the problem may well be at the ophthalmologist’s office when the patient realizes he cannot see the letters on the chart when he looks directly at them. Although there is no cure for the disease, there are ways to slow its progress. Here are some ways to fight back:
1): Make yearly (or more) visits to your ophthalmologist. As you age, other things, like retinal diseases, glaucoma and cataracts may also affect your vision. You need an eye doctor’s help to keep it all sorted out. Your doctor can help you keep track of the progress of all of these diseases and discuss the best plan of action for you.
2): Talk to both your ophthalmologist and your MD about the medicines you are taking. There is some evidence that drugs like aspirin can damage the eye by causing hemorrhaging of the blood vessels. Your doctor can help you find other medications that do not damage the eyes.
3): Ask your ophthalmologist about medications that are designed to slow the progress of macular degeneration. If you are already taking a fish oil supplement, he might suggest you increase the dose. There are also vitamins available that are designed especially for eye health. These are called ocular formulas and contain the supplements that the aging eye needs to stay healthy. These powerful supplements may contain up to 10 times the dose of some anti-oxidants like Vitamin E that the food and drug administration recommends, so ask your doctor for his opinion about them.
4): Eliminate certain foods. Macular degeneration begins with a build-up of debris or waste products on the retina. Much of that debris is cholesterol-laden fatty deposits. The more you eat of this stuff the more that is going to wind up in your eyes. Also, research has shown that hyperglycemic diets trigger macular degeneration, so cut down on sugar, potatoes, white rice, and white bread.
5): Add certain foods. The same foods that make a healthy body also keep the eyes in good shape. Whole grain foods like brown bread and brown rice keep your sugar levels down and your eyes sharp. Eating cold water fish three times a week will add Omega 3 acids to your blood stream. Cooking with mono-unsaturated fats like olive or canola oil helps fight cholesterol build up.
6): A work-out every day is good for your heart and great for your eyes. You’ve just consumed all of those healthy supplements and anti-oxidants, now it’s time to get the blood flowing to carry those nutrients to the eyes. They will thank you for it.
7): Keep informed. New ideas and treatments are being tried all the time. Keep abreast of the latest development in the fight against macular degeneration. The more you know about this disease the better you can fight it.
If you are diagnosed with macular degeneration, don’t give up without a fight. Right now, there is no cure, but by taking action today and consulting with a retina specialist and following some of the above steps, you can slow its progress and lessen its impact.