Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. This eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye. AMD is a loss of central vision that can occur in two forms: “dry” or atrophic and “wet” or exudative. There is no cure for dry AMD, and any loss in central vision cannot be restored. However, nutrition has been found as a key factor in the progression of dry AMD. Less common, "wet" macular degeneration results when fluids leak under the macula and blur central vision. Vision loss with wet AMD can be rapid and severe. If detected early, wet AMD can be treated with ocular injections and/or photocoaguation (laser treatment).
Researchers have linked nutients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration. Wearing UV protection has also been linked to reducing risk of development of macular degeneration and decreased progression of the disease. Annual comprehensive eye examinations are recommended to those individuals who are at risk for developing macular degeneration. Risks include caucasions, women, smokers and those individuals with a family history.
Some common symptoms are: a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision, and a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision. Central vision that is lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored. However, low vision devices, such as telescopic and microscopic lenses, can be prescribed to maximize existing vision.