Frequently Asked Questions
If I have macular degeneration in one eye, will it develop in the other?
What is macular degeneration?
Thirty percent of adults over age 65 have early signs of macular degeneration, and over 50% by age 80. With longevity increasing each decade, the outlook for today’s baby boomers is not good. Vision loss can occur over a short period of time, but usually occurs gradually, affecting both eyes at different rates.
There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration, “wet” and “dry”. Eighty to ninety percent of patients have the “dry” form, which involves thinning of the macular tissues and disturbances in its pigmentation. Ten to Twenty percent have the “wet” form, which can involve leakage of serum and bleeding within and beneath the retina, opaque deposits, and eventually scar tissue. The “wet” form accounts for ninety percent of all cases of legal blindness in macular degeneration patients.
What causes macular degeneration?
Younger patients can also develop macular degeneration. These non-age related cases also might be linked to heredity, diabetes, nutritional deficits, injury, infection, or other factors such as excess exposure to sunlight.
The following are NOT known to be linked to macular degeneration: floaters (moving spots caused by debris floating in the vitreous fluid between the lens and the retina); dry eye syndrome; or cataracts. Cataract surgery, due to decompression of the eye during the procedure may in some cases aggravate early macular degeneration.
Does smoking or second hand smoke contribute to macular degeneration?
Does hypertension and heart disease affect macular degeneration?
It is interesting to note that deficiencies of the vitamins and minerals that have been shown to cause heart disease also have been implicated in macular degeneration risk.
What can I do to help prevent and cure macular degeneration?
See your nutritionally knowledgeable eye doctor without delay if you notice any changes in your vision or follow the plan in ‘10 Steps To Your Natural Eye Health’.
Take nutrient and antioxidant supplement on a two-three times daily basis.
Recommend this website to others who are at risk for the disease.
Volunteer to help Eyesight Action.
How is macular degeneration detected?
Straight lines appear distorted and, in some cases, the centre of vision appears more distorted than the rest of the scene. (See Amsler Grid)
A dark, blurry area or “white-out” appears in the centre of vision.
Colour perception changes or diminishes.
Is early detection important?
Is there a cure for Macular Degeneration?
In the majority of cases, macular degeneration may be stopped and reversed. Depending on the type and degree of the condition it is possible to influence the speed at which it progresses and at least halt it. This is done through nutritional intervention (supplements, avoiding hydrogenated fats, chemical food additives, etc.) or by doing laser surgery of the blood vessels (see below).
After the disease has damaged the vision permanently, we also have developed low vision aids and techniques for maximizing the use of peripheral vision to help patients adapt better to their loss of central vision. Educating susceptible groups about macular degeneration risk factors can reduce their risk of developing the disease. We advise that a patient select an eye doctor who is knowledgeable about nutritional research and who will refer you to a retinal specialist should you need laser surgery.
Can surgery help cure macular degeneration?
Is macular degeneration hereditary?
Heredity and particularly high levels of starchy foods play a major factor in one’s ability to fight free radicals in various parts of the body, which play a part in the development of macular degeneration. Fortunately, dietary and lifestyle changes can usually overcome poor heredity in many of these cases.
Does sunlight affect macular degeneration?
What kind of basic research about macular degeneration is underway at eye research facilities around the country?
The first large study on the effects of nutrition and macular degeneration has now been published with great success. Other smaller studies have shown great promise, even with marginal amounts of nutritional supplementation.