Macular degeneration also called Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an acute eye condition that gets worse with time. This is a permanent vision loss among adults of age above 50, hence it is called age-related macular degeneration.
In this condition the central portion of your retina, called the macula is affected. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of your eye that helps you to see an object hence when a portion of it is affected, your eye can’t see a particular portion. Generally it happens at the middle of the macula i.e. the central part of the eye.
It doesn’t cause complete blindness but a vision impairment. AMD is generally found in Asian and European countries.
Types of AMD
Age-related macular degeneration is two kinds, Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration and Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration.
Dry AMD. This type is the most common. About 80% of those with AMD have the dry form. The exact reason for dry AMD is still unknown, however age, genetics and other factors like obesity, high blood pressure are the major reasons. It affects one eye at a time by slowly breaking down the light-sensitive cells in the macula. The loss of vision in this condition starts slowly and gradually deteriorates. Along with increased age the damage of an important support membrane under the retina contributes to dry age-related macular degeneration.
Wet AMD. Though less prevalent, this form usually results in more severe visual loss in patients than dry AMD. It is the most prevalent cause of serious blindness. Wet AMD develops when aberrant blood vessels form beneath the retina. They leak fluid and blood, giving rise to the term "wet AMD," and can result in a huge blind spot in the centre of the macula.
If you have macular degeneration, you should see your eye doctor on a regular basis and notify them if you notice any changes in your vision.
Initially you may not find noticeable symptoms of macular degeneration, it affects the eye/eyes slowly and gradually. Often it is diagnosed when the eyes start worsening.
Symptoms of macular degeneration may include:
Worse or less clear vision.Your eyesight may be fuzzy, making it difficult to read fine text, drive, or recognise faces.
Dark, blurry areas in the centre of your vision
Straight lines look wavy
Worse or different colour perception
If you have any of these symptoms, see an Ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
Dry AMD has three stages: Early, Intermediate, and Late.The late AMD is considered as Wet AMD.
Reasons of AMD
The potential reasons of AMD are;
4. Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for macular degeneration. Research and studies are still going on to diagnose the exact reasons and possible treatments. In allopathy medicines there are injections to slow down the spread, however it can’t reverse the condition. The treatments are given as per the stages of AMD. To stop further vision loss medicines called anti-VEGF drugs that the doctor injects in your eye. Photodynamic therapy (PDT), a combination of injections and laser treatment are given. These treatments are expensive.
Prevention is better than cure! But where there is no cure, precaution is the best possible thing to do. Above we discussed the possible reasons for AMD, to avoid this eye disease here we will suggest five things to keep your eyes safe from possibilities of macular degeneration and for overall eye health.
Triphala. Triphala is a famous ayurvedic formulation made up of three nutritious and nourishing fruits i.e. Amla, Haritaki and Bibitaki. Triphala is highly beneficial in regulating blood sugar levels, promoting digestion and detoxifies liver and kidney. Triphala is also an excellent product for eye care. Ayurveda and naturopathy suggests Triphala eyewash in treating eye problems and maintaining good vision. Triphala oral intake and eye wash is known to be very effective in preventing dry eyes, computer vision syndrome, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, conjunctivitis, and glaucoma.
Saptamrit Lauh. As the name suggests ‘sapta’ means seven, Saptamrit Lauh is an ayurvedic herbo-mineral formulation made-up of 7 ingredients. It helps treat and manage various eye anomalies and safeguards your eyes.
Saptamrit Lauh is also denoted as Timirhar Lauh as it is used for treating ‘Timir Rog’ which means initial stage of cataract. In this condition a person just starts having blurred and cloudy vision, fuzzy spots, difficulty in seeing in the dark, and increased sensitivity to light.
EyeSpa Ayur. Eyespa ayur has 16 herbs. Triphala is one of the major ingredients in it. Regular use of EyeSpa Ayur helps in keeping your eyes refreshed and healthy. It is safe to use as its completely ayurvedic.
Supplements. Studies by the National Eye Institute, called AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study), found that a certain combination of vitamins and nutrients may protect the eyes from AMD. The prescribed vitamins and minerals for Intermediate AMD are called AREDS 2 vitamins and minerals. AREDS 2 is a type of vitamin supplement that includes a specific combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, copper (cupric oxide), zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Micronutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin are helpful to AMD patients. Even Omega 3 fatty acid is known to be helpful. Consumption of these vitamins and minerals can keep your eyes protected from AMD.
Diet. If you are a smoker or a passive smoker, quit immediately. Add green leafy vegetables, fruits, fatty fishes to daily meals. Foods such as egg, corn, orange or yellow peppers, kale, broccoli, spinach, kiwi, grapes, zucchini, and squash have high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin that are beneficial for complete eye health and also to avoid macular degeneration.
While doctors do not yet know how to completely prevent AMD, a healthy lifestyle that includes not smoking, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables but low in red meat, wearing sunglasses when outside, getting regular eye exams, and taking AREDS 2 vitamins as prescribed will increase the chances of maintaining healthy vision for a lifetime.