Ten measures for a macular-degeneration-prevention program

Think about why macular-degeneration-prevention is so important. The first and foremost reason is that macular degeneration can result in irreversible vision loss. The second is that as important as all of our senses are, our sight is arguably the most precious. Close your eyes tightly for a moment and visualize the face of a loved one or the beauty of a warm night sky or the wonder of a butterfly on a sunflower and try to imagine not being able to see any of it again.

Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a chronic condition that causes central vision loss. It is the most common form of macular degeneration. The incidence of this disease increases with age. It is an affliction suffered by more than thirty percent of people over the age of 65.

Advanced ARMD has two forms, often referred to as wet and dry. Wet ARMD can be treated to retard the growth of new blood vessels, which slows vision loss. There is no treatment for dry AMD. The progression of ARMD in those at greatest risk of losing vision can be slowed with physician supervised high-dose dietary supplementation of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc. Refer to “macular-degeneration” for eight AMD risk factors.

Oxidative stress and inflammation is thought to play a major role in the development of ARMD. Oxidative stress is the result of free-radical action. The metabolic processes of our bodies produce free radicals. As we age our body’s capacity to produce enough antioxidants to neutralize those free radicals is diminished. While the literature suggests that there is no cure or treatment for ARMD, diet and nutrition are counter measures to free radicals and inflammation and may help prevent ARMD.

Eye injury and sunlight can also cause ARMD. Macular-degeneration-prevention is a matter of diet, exercise and eye protection in other words “lifestyle.” If sunlight is one cause and free-radical damage is another then macular degeneration can at least be slowed by wearing eye protection and ingesting appropriate antioxidants in foods and supplements.

Ten measures for your macular-degeneration-prevention program

  1. Eat foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are found in sweet corn (yellow), green peas, bell peppers, raw Japanese persimmons, mandarin tangerines, and cooked dark green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard, kale and spinach.
  2. Eat more dark berries such as blueberries and blackberries. These berries contain high levels of flavonoids. Flavonoids are very powerful anti-oxidants that help prevent oxidation.
  3. Eat foods rich in Beta-Carotene such as carrots, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes and apricots.
  4. Include fish such as salmon in your diet or supplement with Omega-3s oils. Omega-3 oils with DHA and EPA are important to the health and function of our eyes, heart and brain. DHA improves retinal health by repairing retinal cells from free radical damage.
  5. As a part of your macular-degeneration-prevention, you may want to consider a quality multivitamin containing a balance of the minerals; zinc, copper and selenium as well as vitamins C and E. I prefer a liquid multivitamin, VIBE FUSION® produced by Eniva® because it is more readily absorbed by the body.
  6. Don’t smoke. Smokers have a whole host of health issues including vascular problems that negatively impact eye health.
  7. Protect your eyes from direct sunlight with good quality sunglasses certified by ANSI for optimum ultraviolet light protection. This is an important part of your macular-degeneration-prevention program.
  8. Drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea every day. Green tea contains the flavonoid (epicatechin) a powerful antioxidant. You can increase the antioxidant punch by adding a couple of pinches of turmeric and it doesn't change the taste.
  9. Engage in an aerobic exercise program such as walking at least 30 minutes five or more times per week. However, avoid extreme exercise as exercise causes the body to produce more free radicals. It follows that if you engage in more strenuous exercise, you will need more antioxidants.
  10. Avoid junk foods and dangerous food additives.

Be sure to consult with your physician before starting any nutritional supplementation program and select quality supplements. Nutritional supplements do not cure or prevent illness and disease.  They only give the body the extra nutrition it needs to take care of itself!  A healthy lifestyle starts with good nutrition.

Disclaimer and goal

Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated. Deut. 34:7

References and suggested reading:

  • Go to retirement resources. 
  • eye disease.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite.  Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011.  
  • "macular degeneration." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite.  Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011. 
  • Russell L Blaylock, M.D., Health and Nutrition Secrets that can save your life, Health Press. 
  • William Sears, M.D., Prime Time Health, Little, Brown & Company.

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