Age-related macular degeneration, which can cause visual abnormalities so severe that permanent “legal blindness” can ensue, it’s thought to affect 10 to 11 million Americans. In actuality, macular degeneration ranks first among all causes of irreversible vision loss in persons over 60 throughout the world. And again another worrying discovery? By the year 2050, it is anticipated that there will be over 22 million adults in the U.S. who have macular degeneration symptoms, largely as a result of the rising number of people 65 and older. According to this statistic, 288 million people around the world will have at least to some degree lost their vision as a result of this condition by the year 2040.
Smokers, people with poor diets or vitamin shortages, and diabetics, in addition to older folks, can experience vision problems as a result of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration symptoms might also include blurry vision, seeing “blank” patches, color shifts, and difficulties reading in addition to visual loss.
Most people assume they have good vision. While most people anticipate that their vision would deteriorate as they age, macular degeneration is very different from the requirement for bifocals. It’s a condition that could impair one’s vision. Additionally, it’s one in which early detection and therapy, particularly good diet, can have a significant impact.
Types of Macular Degeneration
In reality, there are numerous varieties of macular degeneration. In case you need a refresher, the macula is the term for the region of the retina where all of the light is focused and where the primary (or central) portion of the image that is transmitted to the brain is produced. Neurons, which are brain cells that receive light and translate light impulses to produce images, are abundant in the retina and macula. Over time, a variety of variables interact to cause the macula’s light-sensing cells to degenerate or deteriorate. Neurodegeneration is the term used to describe this deterioration of the macula’s neurons. Other neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) could be familiar to you. In common with these diseases, macular degeneration causes the neurons to deteriorate over time.
The most prevalent kind of macular degeneration, also known as AMD or ARMD, has aged as its main risk factor. With time, the retina’s metabolically active cells produce debris known as “drusen,” which slowly harms the macula’s neurons. Extreme nearsightedness thins out the macula in a condition known as myopic macular degeneration. Bleeding is a prominent characteristic of a disorder known as polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy, which is another form.
Both dry and wet forms of the many types of macular degeneration exist. The most prevalent type of macular degeneration is dry macular degeneration. This results in the degeneration of macula neurons, which are typically caused by dry debris that produces toxins, inflammation, and nutrient blockages. Over 95% of adults over the age of 43 have drusen in their retinas, according to a significant study conducted a lot of years ago.
The wet form develops when blood vessels start to proliferate excessively and pass through fissures beneath the retina. The term “wet” comes from the irregular blood vessels’ subsequent bleeding and fluid leakage. The light-sensing cells in the macula can be severely damaged, which frequently results in a sudden loss of vision.
Risk Factors for AMD
There are various macular degeneration risk factors, some of which we have no control over. The biggest risk factor is age, and we can’t stop the aging process, so that’s a given. Uncontrollable risk factors include our genes, some of which predispose to macular degeneration. There are several risk factors, nevertheless, that we can manage. Among the risk factors that can be changed are ones related to diet, excessive sun exposure, high blood pressure, smoking, heart health, cholesterol, and weight.
How To Heal Macular Degeneration Naturally: Holistic Remedies for AMD
The holistic method promotes prevention in as many ways as possible. Macular degeneration has traditionally been treated by watching for indicators of the condition’s progression and acting if and when it starts to convert to the wet form. The first step in the comprehensive strategy is to recognize and address those modifiable risk factors.
Treating AMD with Antioxidants
The tissue in our entire bodies that requires the most metabolic energy is the macula. Therefore, for it to perform at its peak, it must be in excellent condition. Our bodies need nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep our cells operating properly. Nowhere is that necessity more crucial than in our macula; to keep our macula functioning at its peak, we need excellent nourishment from our foods and supplements.
A nutrient known as an antioxidant stops the process of oxidation, in which a chemical component within a cell loses electrons. Proteins, membranes, and DNA are toxically altered by oxidation, which can ultimately cause cell damage and eye disease. Oxidation is stopped by an antioxidant. High levels of antioxidant activity are present in the retina, and eating nutritious foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can increase this protective activity. Dark chocolate, apples, berries, peppers, coffee, tea, and other foods are excellent providers of antioxidants (without the sugar and fat, of course).
Are Carrots Good for AMD?
It’s True! Beta-carotene, an orange-colored mineral found in carrots, is converted by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A has the power to regulate the daily expression of genes by our body’s cells, including activating the retina’s protective signals. The retina’s ability to detect light also depends on vitamin A. There are other sources of vitamin A besides carrots. Don’t limit yourself to just carrots; other excellent sources of vitamin A include things like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, cantaloupe, salmon, and trout.
The development of many eye problems, including macular degeneration, may be prevented or at least slowed down by eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in a range of nutrients.
A nutrient’s overconsumption can be equally as damaging as its deficiency. Let’s use vitamin E as an example. At the right dosage, vitamin E, a very potent antioxidant, can shield the retina and possibly stave off macular degeneration. Vitamin E can, however, impede other antioxidants and, more crucially, raise the risk of problems from bleeding when taken in excessive doses. Some people might not benefit from taking a supplement. Although there isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all answer, eye nutrition is complicated.
The National Institutes of Health-funded Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) found that taking supplements of specific micronutrients slows the progression of high-risk early AMD to late AMD by 25%. Lutein 10 mg, zeaxanthin 2 mg, vitamin C 500 mg, vitamin e 400 IU, zinc oxide 80 mg or 25 mg (these two amounts functioned equally well), and cupric oxide 2 mg are all included in this recipe.
In the AREDS1 formula (from an earlier study), beta carotene is used in place of lutein and zeaxanthin since it may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers and maybe in former smokers. If your ophthalmologist has recommended them, only buy the ones that mention the “AREDS2 formula.”
Sunglasses to Prevent AMD
The retina in the back of the eye receives very little UV light since the surface of the eye naturally has strong UV filtering capabilities. However, heat energy from light enters the eye, and sunlight can cause the eye’s back to burning. It makes sense to use sunglasses to reduce the heat energy from the sun. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two other nutrients that function like nature’s sunglasses. Vegetables include these nutrients, which when consumed concentrate in the retina to form a coating that shields our eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
Large epidemiological studies have demonstrated the preventive effects of specific diets in lowering the risk of AMD. Particularly protective are fruits, fatty fish (wild salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel), leafy greens (kale, spinach, and collard greens), and leafy vegetables.
Evidence also suggests that exercising and maintaining a healthy weight protect the eyes in addition to the rest of the body.
Exercise has a variety of positive effects on health. One of the main health advantages is increased blood flow, and a recent study found that being physically active for over a 20-year period lowers your risk of having bad vision by 60%. Exercise is a straightforward and effective method for healthy vision when used as part of a holistic strategy and in conjunction with nutrition.
Other Alternative Treatments to Heal and Prevent AMD Naturally
When their eye condition, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), worsens, some individuals turn to alternative treatment. Although there is substantial evidence that certain vitamins and diets help lower your chance of developing vision problems, other complementary therapies, holistic medical practices, or homeopathic strategies, such as rheopheresis, microcurrent stimulation, and acupuncture, are currently unproven.
Rheopheresis for AMD
Similar to kidney dialysis, rheopheresis. Blood from the patient is drawn from one vein in one arm, filtered, and then put back into another vein in the opposite arm. The objective is to get rid of things like lipids and inflammatory proteins that might be involved in AMD. Rheopheresis can temporarily remove these chemicals, however, clinical studies have not shown that it is a viable treatment for AMD. Due to a financing shortage, one experiment was started in the United States but was later abandoned.
Acupuncture for AMD
The practice of acupuncture, a component of traditional Chinese medicine, involves inserting needles at predetermined points in an effort to produce biological changes. It is not known whether acupuncture is useful for AMD, despite the fact that some practitioners use it to try to increase blood flow to the retina.
Microcurrent for Macular Degeneration
The region around the eyes can be stimulated with a low electrical current known as microcurrent stimulation. To encourage healing, this strategy has been applied in different medical disciplines. The aim is to clean the retina of waste materials. It is unknown if microcurrent stimulation achieves this objective, enhances vision, or improves the prognosis for AMD patients.
Prevention of AMD
Due to its quick impacts on aging, smoking has been proven to be among the most harmful behaviors a person can have. Numerous harmful compounds found in cigarettes have been demonstrated to increase inflammation, harm healthy tissue and cells, and cause nerve damage and vision loss. One of the best things you can do to safeguard your vision is to avoid smoking, and it’s even better if you never start!
According to research, smoking significantly increases the risk of AMD. In comparison to non-smokers, you have a twofold increased risk of developing AMD if you smoke more than a pack of cigarettes every day. So quit smoking for your own sake! If you can’t quit, at least cut back on how many cigarettes you smoke each day to lessen the quantity of poison entering your body and eyes. One of the most crucial macular degeneration preventative measures you can take is to take this action.
Special coatings for your glasses
Although exposure to sunshine in moderation offers advantages (such as providing us with immune-protective vitamin D), too much exposure can harm the eyes. If you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun, use sunglasses and a hat to prevent your eyes from being overexposed to UV rays. Avoid staring straight into the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when it is at its brightest. Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes or so if you spend a lot of time using electronics or a computer to reduce eyestrain. You might also want to avoid using blue-light emitting devices right before bed.
Control Your Inflammation and Cardiovascular Health
One of the most important risk factors for eye problems, including macular degeneration, is a history of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Cardiovascular disease frequently indicates excessive levels of inflammation and, on occasion, blood pressure readings outside of the normal range. In order to control blood pressure, normalize blood sugar levels to prevent nerve damage, and maintain heart health, a good diet, regular exercise, drinking enough water, lowering stress, and getting enough sleep are all recommended.
You will have a 43% decreased risk of developing AMD if you consume foods high in antioxidants and ocular pigment than if you do not. Additionally, according to research, eating at least three servings of fruit each day lowers the incidence of AMD by 36%. If at least one serving of nuts is consumed each day, the risk of AMD progression may be reduced by 40%. So make an effort to incorporate as many antioxidants as you can into your diet each day, such as vitamin A (found in carrots, apricots, and papayas), vitamin C (found in berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes), vitamin E (found in avocados, green leafy vegetables, and fish), zinc (found in whole-bran, eggs, and peanuts), lutein (found in kale, spinach, and broccoli), and zeaxanthin (brussels sprouts, cucumbers, green olives).
Pay attention to the fatty acids you intake as well. Even though the AREDS 2 study did not reveal any conclusive evidence of significant macular degeneration treatment effects, omega-3 fatty acids, which are frequently found in whole grains and cold water fish, aid in improving blood flow and transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the eyes. Please be aware, though, that Omega-6 fatty acids, which are included in some vegetable oils, increase the risk of AMD. More Omega-3 and less Omega-6, always.
What is the best natural remedy for macular degeneration?
Prevention! Through healthy eating, lifestyle, and supplementation.
What foods reverse macular degeneration?
Foods that are high in antioxidant levels and low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
Can macular degeneration heal itself?
Some studies have shown that cellular health can increase and in return decrease the effects of macular degeneration.
Does vitamin D affect macular degeneration?
Vitamin D provides for a more healthy immune system and hormone levels. One of the ways we get Vit D is from sunshine. Too much sunshine can be detrimental to the retina and macula. Wearing sunglasses is advised.
Does coffee help macular degeneration?
Yes, caffeine has been shown to slow AMD and coffee is also full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
Which nutrient deficiency can cause macular degeneration?