FEB: Raise AMD Awareness
What is it? How is it detected? Treatments? All you need to know....
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with your retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD you lose your central vision. You cannot see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far. But your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal. For instance, imagine you are looking at a clock with hands. With AMD, you might see the clock’s numbers but not the hands. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss among adults age 50 and older, affecting millions of Americans each year.
Two types of AMD
This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow. You slowly lose central vision. There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.
This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.
Who Is at Risk for AMD?
You are more likely to develop AMD if you:
- eat a diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
- are overweight
- smoke cigarette
- are over 50 years old
- have hypertension (high blood pressure)
- have a family history of AMD
What is MPOD?
Our office tests everyone over 18 yrs for Macular Pigment Optical Density, (MPOD). Macular pigment (or ‘MP’), located in the center of the retina, performs a critical role in protecting the macula from blue light damage. MP is composed of zeaxanthin and lutein, two carotenoids which maintain its function.
Why is it important?
Macular pigment is often thought of as the body’s natural blue light filter, as it absorbs harmful blue light which then protects photoreceptors in the macula from damage. It absorbs high-energy blue light, which is emitted around 400-500nm with a peak absorption of 460nm.
Low MPOD is a significant but modifiable risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A low MPOD is a major risk factor for age-related macular degeneration, which causes gradual and total vision loss if allowed to develop or left untreated. Therefore, identifying and monitoring MPOD is critical to enabling a proactive and preventative approach to AMD.
Commonly referred to as "macular pigments," Zeaxanthin and Lutein are protective dietary derived pigments found in the macula. Numerous research studies demonstrate that dietary Zeaxanthin and Lutein intake increases low macular pigment level – a key risk factor for AMD. The human body does not produce Zeaxanthin or Lutein, so dietary intake and supplementation are essential in maintaining healthy macular pigment. According to the National Eye Institute's Age-related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS 2) clinical trial, a national five-year, FDA-sponsored study, participants with intermediate to advanced AMD who had the lowest intake of dietary Zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan-thin) and Lutein achieved an amazing 26 percent risk reduction of progression to advanced AMD by supplementing with Zeaxanthin and Lutein.
Come talk to us about getting screened for MPOD and improving scores and reducing your risks for AMD. Call for an appointment 704-821-5009.