Macular degeneration is a common ailment affecting the retina of the eyes. It is sometimes referred to as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) because it is often attributed to aging, affecting individuals who are 50 years old and above.
Understanding Macular Degeneration
A quick overview of the structure of the eye would help us understand macular degeneration easier. The inner structure of the eye is composed of several layers of tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. The three primary layers responsible for our accurate vision are the retina, the choroid, and the sclera. The retina is comprised of nerves which are responsible for our sense of sight. The choroid is composed of blood vessels that supply blood and nutrients to the eye, and the sclera is the white portion of the eye. On the central part of the retina lies the macula- the one responsible for our central vision,keeping our eyes focused and let us see things in full clarity.
Macular Degeneration can either be wet type or dry type. The wet type is a more serious form of macular degeneration wherein the blood vessels from the choroid extends through the retina and thus, forcing it to be detached. The dry type is more common, and it is caused by the accumulation of drusen(cell debris)between the choroid and the retina. Both conditions destroy or force the retina to be detached, damaging the macula of the eye, and thus,impairing our central vision.
The Role of Lutein
Is macular degeneration preventable? It’s a big YES!
Although macular degeneration is more common to the elderly and to those with a family history of the disease, most of its other risk factors are preventable. The modifiable risk factors include high levels of fat and cholesterol in the body, stress, smoking, and high exposure of the eyes to the sun’s harmful rays, especially the “blue light”.
The “blue light” from the sun are very high in frequency and it can gradually damage the macula. Exposure to the “blue light” is usually minimized by Lutein, which is a substance normally present within the eye. Lutein helps filter harmful rays and prevents them from damaging the retina.
We were born with enough supply of Lutein but it decreases as our age advances. Lutein can be acquired from dark green and leafy vegetables, however, an average adult only acquires 1-2 mg of Lutein from this dietary source. This is the reason why Lutein supplements have been very helpful in giving us enough Lutein to replenish what we lose everyday.
One of the most recommended lutein supplements is the Ocuvite Lutein & Zeaxanthin Eye Vitamins. Ocuvite has 6 mg of Lutein and Zeaxanthin per capsule, enough supply to help protect the macula of the eye from its everyday exposure to the sunlight. In addition, this eye supplement has Vitamin A that helps improve eye sight, Vitamin C and E that acts as antioxidants and Zinc which helps maintain the integrity of cells.
Taking Lutein supplements is not just for the elderly. Younger individuals who enjoy good and accurate vision may also want to take a daily dose of Lutein to protect their eyes and preserve their visual acuity. This idea is very helpful to prevent macular degeneration as we age.