What causes AMD, and who is at risk?The exact cause of AMD is unknown. We know that certain genes cause it, but not what causes the genes to activate. You may be at risk of developing AMD if you're:
- Older than 50
- A smoker, overweight, or diabetic
- Eating unhealthy food
Types of AMDThere are two types of AMD—early and late. In early AMD, your sight is unaffected, so you have no idea your vision is threatened. Only your eye care professional can detect the early signals, so regular eye exams are critical. Some people with early AMD will develop late AMD, where loss of vision can begin. Late AMD manifests as either dry or wet AMD. Dry AMD is the more common type of late AMD—around 85% of people with late AMD have this type. Fortunately, it's the less severe type—vision deteriorates slowly, over a longer period of time. With wet AMD, vision degenerates more rapidly. It's caused by abnormal blood vessels under the macula that bleed and leak fluid, causing distorted vision. Fortunately, wet AMD is less common than dry. Again, only your eye care professional can tell which form you may have.
Preventing AMD with diet...and some helpProper nutrition can reduce your risk of macular degeneration by up to 25%. It's that simple. Go for a diet rich in many different colored fruits and vegetables, each color signaling the presence of a different antioxidant. Consume no processed food if possible. Use olive oil generously. But I also recommend giving your peepers some extra help from essential nutrients in the form of supplements. Vitamin A, for example, is an outstanding AMD deterrent. But the US recommended daily minimum amount of vitamin A is too low. You'd have to eat acres of kale or carrots to hit the target amount. But be careful not to overdo vitamin A. Don't take more than 3,000 mcg/day (10,000 IU). I recommend these daily amounts, some of which are considerably more than the recommended daily minimums:
- Copper: no more than 1 mg/day, less for children or pregnant women
- Zinc; no more than 25 mg/day
- Vitamin C (500 mg)
- Vitamin E (400 IU)
- Beta-carotene (15 mg)
- Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU)
- Omega-3 (3 g)
- CoQ10 (100 mg)
Powerful non-supplement interventionsI sometimes also recommend intravenous (IV) nutrient therapy. We inject vitamins and other nutrients, and antioxidants, especially selenium, directly into your bloodstream, in concentrations up to 100 times the concentration of antioxidants taken orally. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which stimulates greatly increased production and absorption of
Detecting early AMD: The Amsler Grid TestThe Amsler Grid is a simple grid of vertical and horizontal lines with a dot in the middle. It's a DIY test: When you stare at the dot, if the lines surrounding it bulge or are wavy, get your eyes checked. The grid is available online for you to print out. As always, early detection is the goal. So keep your eyes on the prize: lifelong healthy vision.
- Slow Down Macular Degeneration With IV Nutrient Therapy. http://bottomlinehealth.com/slow-down-macular-degeneration-with-iv-nutrient-therapy/
- What Are Drusen? - American Academy of Ophthalmology. www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-drusen
- Oxidative Therapies in the Treatment of Macular Degeneration http://www.healingtheeye.com/Articles/Oxidative_therapies.html
- Weiss JN, Retina Associates of South Florida, Margate, Florida, USA. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and age-related macular degeneration. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2010 Mar-Apr;37(2):101-5.
- Amsler Grid. http://macula.org/amsler-grid
- Macular Degeneration. http://www.alternative-medicine-digest.com/macular-degeneration.html