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Macular Degeneration

old couple with macular degeneration Macular degeneration; formally known as Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD); affects the macula, a small region at the back of your eye responsible for the central part of your vision.

Currently the exact cause for Age Related Macular Degeneration is not known. Some things that are thought to increase your chances of developing AMD:

  • Age: Age Related Macular Degeneration develops more commonly with age
  • Genes: some genes have been identified which seem linked to the development of AMD. Not all AMD is thought to be inherited
  • Smoking: smoking greatly increases your risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration
  • Sunlight: studies suggest that exposure to high levels of sunlight may increase your risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration
  • What you eat: a number of studies have looked at diet as a risk factor for someone developing Age Related Macular Degeneration. There is evidence that vitamins A, C and E and zinc may help to slow the progression of AMD in people who already have the condition.

Wet & Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Dry AMD is the most common type and usually develops very slowly resulting in gradual deterioration in your central vision. At its worst, dry AMD causes a blank patch in the centre of your vision.

Wet AMD develops quickly and affects 10-15% of people with AMD. It occurs when the macular cells stop working correctly and blood vessels grow to try and fix the problem. They grow in the wrong place causing swelling and bleeding underneath your macula, eventually leading to scarring which damages your central vision. Treatment is now available for certain types of wet AMD.

Why Macular Pigments are Important

The macular pigments help protect the eye from damage and act as antioxidants. Studies show that if the density of these pigments is reduced then the macula is more vulnerable to damage and deterioration. The greater the concentration of key pigments at your macular, the more protected the macular from degenerative changes over time.

tinsley mpod used for macular degenerationMacular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) is a device we use at Earlam and Christopher which can actually measure the amount of healthy protective pigments at your macula. By detecting if you have low levels of pigment, action can be taken to increase the pigment density and help reduce the risk of damage to your eyes or even long-term vision loss.

If you are identified as being “at risk” we will advise on various lifestyle factors that may reduce the risk of developing AMD, including smoking, diet, general health and UV protection. Simply contact us for an eye examination.

Nutritional Supplements

Clinical trials have shown that suitable nutritional supplementation and an improvement in diet can improve the levels of the vital macula pigments in certain cases.
If supplements are advised, we may also recommend regular MPOD screening to monitor the progress of your macula pigment levels in order to monitor and potentially help protect your eyes.

Ongoing Care

Regular MPOD scans can be coupled with a monthly supply of supplements in our Total Care Plan direct debit option.

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