As we’ve been working our way through the various aspects of macular degeneration this month, I’ve touched on diagnosis and treatment options. Here on the Gold Coast at Envision Optical, we encourage our patients to be pro-active and look at the things they can do to help prevent development and progression of the disease.  Age-related macular degeneration and its progression as an eye disease can be significantly impacted upon by the diet and nutrients a person ingests every day. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that a specific formulation of antioxidants and zinc showed up to 30% reduction in the rate of progression to advanced AMD and its associated vision loss. In late 2014 the updated result of the AREDS2 study were released. This added crucial new ingredients to the original formulation and found even better outcomes for reducing progression. The formulations are not a cure and will not restore vision already lost to the disease. They have been shown to be effective in delaying progression to advanced AMD. It is always best to alter your own diet to ensure you are maximising the nutrients you need for healthy eyes. The best foods to eat plenty of are:

  • Green Leafy Vegetables:               spinach, kale, broccoli, rocket, cabbage
  • Orange/Yellow Veges/Fruit:       capsicum, carrots, pumpkin, oranges, squash
  • Blue/Purple Veges/Fruit:            beetroot, blueberries, goji berries, kiwi fruit
  • Red/Pink Veges/Fruit:                 red grapes, cherries, raspberries, capsicum

All coloured fruit and vegetables contain Antioxidants that are essential in maintaining good macula health. For a comprehensive plan of the best foods to eat for eye health including recommended quantities to ensure the optimum nutrient benefits based on the latest research, visit our website at http://envisionoptical.com.au/my-eyes/nutrition-and-the-eyes/  Omega 3 fats are the best for your eye health. This means fish, canola oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil. Eat fish four times a week. The best fish are tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel.

Things to avoid:

  • Too much red meat, sugar, refined carbs, fried, trans and saturated fats, processed foods
  • If you take Warfarin, you are not able to eat green leafy vegetables and you may be diet deficient in antioxidants. You should then take 1x MD Eyes tablet per day.
  • Smoking

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in macular pigments. These are the basement layer of the retina essential to good macular health.  A deficient macular pigment layer will make you more prone to developing ARM. They are carotenoids that protect against phototoxic blue light and UV radiation. Multiple research papers have shown that 10-20 mg of lutein a day is needed to be protective in ARM, which is equivalent to two cup of raw spinach or leafy greens. High ORAC (antioxidant capacity) berries, especially bilberry, wild blueberry, goji berry, grape seed extract and Resveratrol have been found to be potent inhibitors of angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth) by reducing VEGF expression as well as reducing oxidative damage to the macular pigment. Your health food store will recommend supplements with resveratrol and bilberry.

The above dietary changes can be supplemented by taking 1x MD Eyes capsule per day to ensure your full nutrient needs are met. The crucial element to MD Eyes is the level of Lutein/zeaxanthin which is formulated to match the AREDS2 recommended levels. This is why Envision Optical recommends MD Eyes as the current best macular supplement available. Lastly, wear a quality pair of sunglasses whenever you are outdoors. Protection from UV damage is important to many eye conditions. As always, have regular checkups and ensure you know of any family history that may leave you at a higher risk of disease.