Eyes for Life ‘Macula Plus’ – Recommended for stabilisation / slowing of progression of AMD
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- GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF AMD
- How will I know that I have early signs of AMD?
- DRY AMD
- So what has happened in my eyes if I have Dry AMD?
- How does Eyes for Life ‘Macula Plus’ help to stabilise the progression of AMD?
- What does it mean to have a genetic predisposition to AMD?
- Can Spectacles reduce the distortion in vision caused by AMD?
- WET AMD
- How will I know if I have Wet AMD?
- Take action immediately – how, why?
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF AMD
AMD, as the name implies, affects the macula of the retina, a small central area responsible for detailed vision that allows us to read and see the detail of what it is we are looking at – that part of the retina essential for normal visual function – and without this basic function, our experience of life through vision is shockingly altered creating a reliance on the vision provided by the remainder of the retina, our peripheral vision. Unfortunately our peripheral vision does not provide the detail we have been accustomed to before the onset of AMD although with training some measure of detailed vision can be regained.
How will I know that I have early signs of AMD?
The first symptoms of AMD are usually visual distortion of straight lines and difficulties in: reading, recognition of faces and other fine-focus tasks. Many people with AMD are also very sensitive to bright sunlight. Side vision (peripheral vision) is usually retained.
The dry state of AMD is the more common accounting for 90% of all cases. In some parts of the developed world, such as the USA and pockets in many other countries where we live a ‘fast’ lifestyle, as many as 50% of people over the age of 65 are classified as clinically blind due to AMD. This means that one may not drive and the quality of our life is seriously impeded by loss of normal detailed vision.
So what has happened in my eyes if I have Dry AMD?
Yellow-white deposits called drusen accumulate in the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE), a layer of cells located beneath the photoreceptors that nourish and facilitate removal of waste. With age and a genetic predisposition to AMD, waste products continue to accumulate in the RPE and when this occurs below the small area of the retina responsible for detailed vision – the macula – distortion in the shape of the macula may gradually develop. The process interferes with the normal function of the light-sensitive photoreceptors that make up the macula.
Not everyone with drusen will experience vision loss and the rate of loss may be quite slow. Once the first symptoms of AMD become apparent – usually in a person’s mid- 50’s to mid 60’s – the condition may have been developing from their mid- 30’s to 40’s – twenty years earlier. This strongly suggests the need for preventive measures to be taken from age 35 to 40 – meaning that attention to lifestyle should be a high priority in everyone’s life.
How does Eyes for Life ‘Macula Plus’ help to stabilise the progression of AMD?
In several ways:
Firstly, all the nutrients in ‘Macula Plus’ are antioxidants: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C and E, Zinc, Copper and Selenium. None of these antioxidants are produced by the body and must therefore be consumed in our food. Unfortunately, when AMD has been diagnosed, the amount of these antioxidants that most people consume in their food is insufficient.
Antioxidants counter the biochemical process of oxidation in the cells of the body including in the eyes. In layman’s terms oxidation can be thought of as the gradual process of cell breakdown as we age – antioxidants help to strengthen the cells by ‘capturing’ the elements that cause the break down. This is particularly important for the photoreceptor cells as they do not seem to be renewed during our lifetime – as do most other cells.
Secondly, one of the specific tasks of Lutein is to improve the efficiency of the blood circulatory system – keeps the blood vessels clean – and in so doing may reduce the build-up of waste material in the RPE.
Many people who have been taking ‘Macula Plus’ since 2007, since it first became available, have reported stability in deterioration of AMD and an improvement in their visual acuity – sometimes to the extent that their prescription glasses have been down-adjusted – suggesting that the photoreceptor cells have improved in health.
Others report no change in their vision whilst being told to ‘continue whatever it is you are doing’ because the general health of the retina has improved.
A more detailed description of the action of the nutrients in our products will, in due course be provided – suffice it to say that these nutrients affect many aspects of body health, not only the eyes. The body appears to have its own ‘intelligence’, using nutrients first where they are most crucially needed. This provides one reason why individuals vary in the time before a positive response to the same nutritional product is often evident. – also a reason to persist for at least 6 months.
When diagnosed with AMD, persist with taking ‘Macula Plus’ for at least 6 months and preferably 12 months, after which a return visit to your eye specialist is strongly recommended. Even if you do not notice an improvement in your vision, your specialist is in the best position to give you feedback concerning the health condition of the retina. Often one forgets that the primary aim of ‘Macula Plus’ is to stabilise the degenerative process of AMD. To be aware of a reduced rate of deterioration is extremely subjective – so the next best approach is feedback from the specialist.
What does it mean to have a genetic predisposition to AMD?
Researchers have identified a group of genes which if present in a person’s genetic make-up increases the probability that they will develop AMD. It is now also known that our genes respond to our environment, our lifestyle and mental, emotional and physical stress levels; so although we may have the genes for the development of AMD this does not necessarily mean we will develop AMD – it just means we are at greater risk. What it also means is that taking better care of ourselves can prevent or at least minimise the rate of development of AMD. Clearly our ‘sophisticated’ lifestyle of often poor eating habits and stress has impacted on many people to bring on the development of AMD in our present time.
Can Spectacles reduce the distortion in vision caused by AMD?
No. In order to have detailed focused vision, one can imagine that the shape of the macula of the eye is very specific and so if there is a build-up of waste below the macula, the shape is altered. This, at least partially, is the cause of distortion of vision. As the waste builds-up, so the shape of the macula distorts further causing blurring of vision because the lens of the eye cannot create a point of focus on the now ‘bulging’ macula.
Spectacles assist the lens of the eye to form a focused point on the macula. They cannot compensate for the abnormal shape of the macula when it begins to bulge inward into the fluid space of the eye.
The development of Wet AMD is preceded by the gradual ‘build-up’ of blood vessels beneath the RPE which contributes to further distortion of the macula. This process is usually very slow and may take many years before the onset of wet AMD.
Wet AMD is called choroidal neovascularisation, exudative or disciform degeneration. Abnormal blood vessels form in the central macula area of the retina. These leak fluid and blood, damaging the photoreceptor cells. Wet AMD can progress and cause severe vision loss.
How will I know if I have Wet AMD?
Individuals report waking in the morning and finding that there is a part of their field of vision that is blurred, ‘clouded’ or blank. This could also happen when one is suddenly jolted – fluid and / or blood has begun to seep into the cavity of the eye (the vitreous) and blocks light from reaching the photoreceptor cells so that the ‘picture’ one observes is incomplete.
Take action immediately – how, why:
Chances are that you have already been diagnosed with AMD and you are aware of the possibility that your Dry AMD could develop into Wet AMD. Contact your eye specialist immediately for an appointment – he can help with a series of injections to slow or stop the bleeding – and the sooner this is done the less damage will be done to the photoreceptor cells by the fluid. This is crucial if you are to save as much of your vision as possible.