Macular degeneration is a condition in which you begin to lose your fine vision progressively. It is one of the major causes of severe vision loss in the US and the Western world in people above the ages of fifty five years.
In this condition, degeneration of the macula (a portion of rationalize responsible for fine vision) takes place. Macular degeneration does not affect peripheral and color vision. It usually happens progressively but in some cases it can happen all of a sudden
Macular degeneration is considered to be the result of free radical damage very similar to the type of damage that induces cataracts.
Treatment at early stages is very effective and the further loss of vision can be easily stopped. Even the condition can be reversed in early stages.
Symptoms of Age Related Macular Degeneration
If you are above the age of fifty five then look out for one or more of the following symptoms to identify or rule out macular degeneration.
- Blurred Vision - When you look straight into something then if the blurrier images appears in the center of your vision then it is a sign of macular degeneration.
- Distorted Lines - This is another test to see if you have macular degeneration. Straight lines may begin to look distorted from the middle.
- Color Fade - The color in the middle of the vision will either look dark or light as compared to the rest vivid colors.
- Blank Spots - As the time passes, the blurriness may completely change to miss images in the center. You may get spots which you can't see in the center of your vision. This is the advance stage of macular degeneration.
- Activity Troubles - Reading, writing, typing or driving can be difficult as you cant see the center of your vision. Even identifying faces can be a challenge.
Types of Macular Degeneration
1. Atrophic Macular Degeneration
Almost 90% of macular degeneration cases are Atrophic or dry macular generation. Since the macular alone is affected, the peripheral vision remains intact.
2. Exudative Macular Degeneration
Exudative or wet macular degeneration affects about 10% of the cases. Here the macular us accompanied by hemorrhage. The tiny blood vessels under the center of the retina begin to leak resulting in scarring and loss of vision.
Here also the peripheral vision remains intact. In both cases complete blindness is not a risk.
The causes of macular degeneration include, aging, genetic predisposition, atherosclerosis, hypertension and environmental reasons causing toxicity.
Prevention and Treatment of Macular Degeneration
Except for the genetic predisposition, all the other causes of this condition are under your control. You can do the following:
1. Lower Your High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is one of the major contributors to macular degeneration. Arrest and lower your high blood pressure in early stages before it begins to cause numerous health conditions.
High blood pressure affects your heart, brain, kidneys and eyes. Eyes are generally the last one to get affected. So, you will get sufficient warning in advance to control it. You can look at the home remedies for high blood pressure here.
2. Control and Reverse Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is the plaque that narrows your arteries denying body cells full blood supply and nutrition.
The narrow arteries are the first casualty. Therefore, eyes which get their blood through fine arteries get affected.
Your food habits and lack of exercise are some of the main causes of atherosclerosis. Eat less fatty and salty foods, eat more fruits, vegetables and seafood. Learn more about how to prevent atherosclerosis here.
3. Avoid Environmental Toxins
Environmental pollutants and constant use of computer and mobile screens are becoming big environmental factors to cause macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
Take sufficient precautions by protecting your eyes from harmful chemical fumes and other pollutants.
The ultraviolet and blue light radiated from your computer monitor are harmful to your eyes. Take a couple of minutes of rest after every 30 minutes of use of the computer screen.
Home Remedies for Macular Degeneration
Blueberries are your best remedies for treating macular degeneration in its early stages. Eating 8 to 10 houses of blueberries per day will significantly help to halt the progressive loss of vision.
Blueberries are rich in valuable flavonoids that are antioxidants. They protect from the degenerative losses of oxidative stresses. Other flavonoid rich berries such as blackberries and cherries are also good for preventing macular degeneration
2. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is an herb with powerful antioxidant effects on your brain retina and cardiovascular system. If you are taking any blood thinning medication then you must check with a medical professional before taking ginkgo biloba for macular degeneration or any other purpose.
Staying fully hydrated is essential to remove all the toxins from the body. This also helps absorption of nutrients. Drink eight to 10 glasses of fluids including water and other nutritional fruit and vegetable juices.
4. Green Vegetables
Dark leafy green vegetables are important sources of many nutrients that are good for your eyes. Kale , collards and spinach are your best bets. Eat them in salads or make juices and drink it. You can make juices of both green leaf vegetables with orange and yellow fruits and vegetables.
5. Yellow and Orange Vegetables and Fruits
Brightly colored yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants called carotenoids. Include them in your regular daily diet. Vegetables such as carrots, yellow and orange bell peppers and sweet potatoes are great and tasty sources of these antioxidants.
6. Fiber Rich Foods
All the nutrients can be absorbed well if your gut is maintained healthy. Eat fiber rich healthy foods to keep your metabolism at optimal levels. Fruits, nuts, seeds and soaked legumes are great sources of dietary fiber.
Take following precautions to lower the risks of macular degeneration as well as halt the progression.
- Quit Smoking - Smoking has lots of toxins. It increases inflammations and causes heart disease which can lead to age related macular degeneration.
- Lose Weight - Excess weight has a toll on the heart for blood circulation and heart functioning. If the blood doesn't reach the finest capillaries then it affects the functionality of the blood deprived organs including eye and retina which are supplied blood and nutrients through a network of capillaries.
- Exercise - Exercise improves blood circulation. It maintains healthy weight, controls blood pressure and sugar.
- Inflammations - Avoid and/ or treat all kinds of inflammations early as they produce oxidative stresses causing organ damages.
If you can read this article without any blurriness at the center then you don't have to worry about macular degeneration.