In macular degeneration visual is progressively lost, due to degeneration in the macula. The macula is the part of the eye where images are focused. Macular degeneration, along with cataract, are the leading causes of decreased vision.
Macular degeneration causes
Risk factors for macular degeneration are:
- Aging. It is most common in people over 55.
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Family history
- Smoking. Smoke significantly increases your risk of macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration, as cataract may be the aftermath of high free radical damage, along with decreased blood and oxygen to the retina.
Treatment for eyesight problems
The first thing you have to do is to visit your eye doctor. Whatever vision problem you have, you can help by:
- Stop smoking. Research has proven that smoking can greatly increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, as cigarette smoke contains an abundant number of toxic compounds, which cause oxidative damage, vascular changes, cellular changes, and inflammation. Cigarette smoking is a proven risk factor for both the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration. Quit smoking today, as quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration, and after 20 non-smoking years the risk of developing eye diseases is the same as for nonsmokers (1). Scientists don’t hesitate to propose that a cigaret package should contain warning like: smoking causes blindness (2).
- Exercise to keep a healthy weight.
- Healthy diet. A healthy whole food plant-based diet, with lots of vegetables and fruits, can help you prevent eyesight degenerative diseases. Also, a vegan diet may help you with other chronic degenerative diseases like atherosclerosis. Also, avoid high animal fat diets, and commercial baked goods, as they are rich in sugars and trans-fats.
Vitamins to prevent macular degeneration
Most important mineral and vitamins to prevent macular degeneration are:
- carotenoids like lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. The macula of the eye has a high concentration of lutein, and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are also important antioxidants. Antioxidants are the soldiers who help the immune system fight free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to the retina.
- other important antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. Especially, zinc has an important role in the metabolism of the retina. As the elderly have increased odds for zinc deficiency, high importance should be given for extra daily zinc intake, or even zinc supplementation, if necessary.
- anthocyanins in red wine is an antioxidant, which may be the reason for the helpful effect of wine in decreasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (3).
Lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc are rich in a healthy vegan diet. Always, prefer to take your micronutrients through diet, not supplements, except your doctor, has told you otherwise.
Also, consider to protect your eyes from damaging sunlight rays, with hats, sunglasses, or even computer glasses, for protection for blue light.
- NCBI – Pubmeb.gov – Smoking and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Review and Update
- NCBI – Pubmeb.gov – Can genetic risk information for age-related macular degeneration influence motivation to stop smoking? A pilot study.
- NCBI – Pubmeb.gov – Moderate wine consumption is associated with decreased odds of developing age-related macular degeneration in NHANES-1.