As life expectancy increases, cases of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) are on the rise. Currently affecting more than 10 million Americans – with thousands of new cases being detected every year – this disease is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65.
ARMD destroys central vision, making tasks such as reading and driving virtually impossible. As the name indicates, the condition worsens with age; in fact, a third of Americans over the age of 75 suffer from its effects.
What is age-related macular degeneration?
The macula is a spot at the center of the retina, which is located in the back of the eyeball and loaded with light-catching photoreceptors. ARMD occurs when components of the eye are no longer able to successfully remove waste products, and cholesterol-laden particles build up behind the eye and damage those photoreceptors.
This causes a dark, blurry, or blind spot to appear at the center of the patient’s vision, while peripheral vision usually remains unaffected.
Facts About Natural Treatment Options for Macular Degeneration
Carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin help to fortify macular optical pigment density. Carotenoids, the fat-soluble red, orange and yellow pigments that are found in fruits and vegetables, include beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These phytochemicals play a vital role in eye health.
Lutein and zeaxanthin naturally amass in the central part of the retina, where they aid in seeing colors and fine detail. They also have beneficial antioxidant properties, and help to provide protection against retina-damaging blue light.
Beneficial carotenoids must be properly broken down to produce maximum benefit. To ensure proper breakdown and delivery of carotenoids, natural health experts suggest taking a digestive supplement such as taurine or lecithin. In addition, you should focus on boosting your levels of HDL cholesterol – which are responsible for transporting lutein and zeaxanthin to the retina – by using olive, flax or coconut oil. To obtain carotenoids through your diet, increase your intake of fresh, organic corn, dark leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, and red and yellow vegetables and fruits.
Taurine, a potent antioxidant, helps to restore tissues in the eye that have worn out. Taurine is present in high concentrations in the photoreceptor cells of the retina, where it protects from ultraviolet damage and helps to maintain vision. Taurine levels can decrease with age, and deficiencies can cause lesions and a deterioration of the patient’s vision. Natural taurine supplements are available and may help protect against age-related deficits.
Ginkgo biloba, a powerful antioxidant, improves arterial blood flow and cellular metabolism. Ginkgo biloba has anti-aging properties that may help it prevent deteriorating problems in the eye. Experts advise dosages of 160 to 240 milligrams a day to help fight macular degeneration.
Omega-3 fatty acids promote retinal development and repair. Eating fatty fish at least once a week cuts the risk of AMD in half. Studies show that the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, found in fish oil, is needed for the integrity of retinal cells. Because of the risk of mercury exposure, be sure to choose your seafood carefully. For some people, it may even be best to get your fatty acids in the form of a high-quality fish oil supplement.
Bioidentical hormones are currently a subject of study for possible applications in treating ARMD. Some research reports that macular degeneration patients often have low blood levels of DHEA, which can be a sign of insufficient levels of estrogen and testosterone. In addition, the retina contains hormone receptors, indicating that hormones play a role in vision. Bioidentical hormones, such as progesterone, may play a role in preventing and treating macular degeneration in the future.
Age-related macular degeneration presents a serious problem, and a threat to the independence of many people, as they age. However, natural substances do exist that can substantially reduce the risk.
If you would like a second opinion regarding your ARMD treatment or if you are interested in learning more about homeopathic or alternative treatments, visit our website today at www.HealingTheEye.com then seek a referral from your physician.