Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and vision loss in the developed world, accounting for more than 50% of all vision loss in the United States. If you or a loved one have received this diagnosis, you probably have questions.
AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. It does not hurt, but it causes cells in the macula to die. There are two types of Macular Degeneration, dry AMD (Atrophic) and the more serious type, wet AMD (Neovascular).
Accounts for 80-90% of all cases of AMD. In dry AMD small white or yellow deposits form on the retina underneath the macula. These deposits are called Most AMD begins as the dry type and in some cases progresses to the wet type. There are three stages of dry AMD:
Early: Diagnosed with the presence of small to medium-sized drusen, which are about the width of an average human hair. There is usually no vision loss in the early stage.
Intermediate: Characterized by several medium to large-sized drusen. Some vision loss may be recognized but most people in the intermediate stage will not experience any symptoms.
Late: People with late stage AMD will have vision loss from damage to the macula. The gradual breakdown of the light-sensitive cells in the macula that convey visual information to the brain result in central vision loss and difficulty with contrast and facial recognition.
In 10-20% of cases, abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina. These vessels can burst leaking fluid and blood, which may lead to swelling and damage of the macula.
Wet AMD progresses much more quickly than dry AMD, resulting in rapid and severe central vision loss.
While the cause of Age-related Macular Degeneration is unknown, there are some factors that have been associated with an increased risk:
Family History of AMD
High Blood Pressure
Race (Caucasians have a higher rate of AMD)
Not everyone with early AMD will develop late AMD. For people who have early AMD in one eye and no signs of AMD in the other eye, about five percent will develop late stage AMD after 10 years. For people who have early AMD in both eyes, about 14 percent will develop late AMD in at least one eye after 10 years.
While there is currently no cure for Age-related Macular Degeneration, with early detection there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of vision loss.
Some medical treatments have been developed to address wet AMD that focus on halting the growth of abnormal blood vessels and decreasing their leakage. These interventions include Anti-VGEF (Anti Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) injections and laser therapies to destroy new abnormal blood vessels.
Currently the only treatment for dry AMD is nutritional supplementation. In 2001, the National Eye Institute sponsored the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study (AREDS) with 4,800 participants and reported that a specific combination of high dose vitamins C & E, beta-carotene, Zinc and Copper can reduce the risk of advancing to late stage AMD by up to 25%. In 2006, a follow up study was conducted (AREDS2) with 4,200 participants improving the formulation by adding the anti-oxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin in place of beta-carotene and lowering the amount of zinc.
Early and intermediate stage AMD is usually only detectable by an eye care professional so regular eye exams are imperative. Most, if not all, eye doctors would recommend that you discontinue smoking. Eat a healthy diet and use a high quality AREDS2 supplement like Doctor’s Advantage Macular Shield. If your grandparents, parents or siblings have been diagnosed, strongly consider taking a daily multivitamin that contains AREDS2 ingredients such as Daily Shield by Doctor’s Advantages.
Receiving a diagnosis of Macular Degeneration can be a devastating blow. But you are not powerless. Armed with knowledge, a strong support network of loved ones and medical professionals, and a willingness to adapt to new ways of doing things, people with AMD can maintain their independence and the quality of life they are used to. Just in a different way.
Macular Shield contains AREDS 2 ingredients, including 10mg of FloraGLO lutein and 2mg of zeaxanthin, which have been proven clinically effective for reducing the risk of progressing to Advanced Age-related Macular Degeneration. Macular Shield also comes in a convenient multivitamin version as well as a zinc-free version for individuals with zinc sensitivity.
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Daily Shield is a comprehensive daily multivitamin specifically formulated to support eye and whole-body health. Daily Shield contains AREDS 2 ingredients along with over 30 other vitamins and minerals that studies indicate are beneficial for blood pressure, heart health, immune system, energy level, anti-aging, harmful effects of blue light and much more.
Order Daily Shield today and join our Autoship program to receive FREE SHIPPING along with convenience of automated ordering! Call 888.393.3625 or Click Here.