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Curing and Preventing Macular Degeneration of the Eye

14 years, 4 months ago

941  0
Posted on Aug 09, 2004, 1 p.m. By Bill Freeman

The Search for the Holy Grail of Curing Macular DegenerationVeterans Affairs Eye Doctor Says Study Demonstrates Possible Value of Lutein For Macular DegenerationThe blue of the ocean, the red of a rose, the smile of a baby. Who can put a price tag on the precious gift of being able to see these wonders of life.
The Search for the Holy Grail of Curing Macular DegenerationVeterans Affairs Eye Doctor Says Study Demonstrates Possible Value of Lutein For Macular DegenerationThe blue of the ocean, the red of a rose, the smile of a baby. Who can put a price tag on the precious gift of being able to see these wonders of life? The macula is located in the center of the retina. It is the area providing the clearest vision. If you look directly at something, the light from that object forms an image on the macula of the retina. The retina is the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, sort of like the electronic pixels in a digital camera or the film in a regular camera. The retina converts light, into electrical impulses and sends these impulses to the brain. Scientists have been searching for ways to prevent and cure this very common and sometimes insidious eye problem. "Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of untreated vision loss in aging Western societies,ACCOUNTING FOR 45% OF ALL VISUAL DISABILITY IN THE UNITED STATES"... "After aging, smoking remains the most significant risk factor". (see LAST Study). Dr. Stuart Richer O.D.,PH.D., of the Veterans Affairs Eye Clinic,et al, report that men taking lutein or lutein and vitamins had improved vision. According to a report in The New York Times, "Dr. Richer said the patients receiving lutein were able to see the equivalent of one line more on standard eye tests at the end of the year." In the study, The Veterans Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial(LAST) which appears in Volume 75,Number 4, April 2004 in the journal Optometry, 90 men with macular degeneration were given either 10mg of lutein, 10mg of lutein and antioxidant vitamins and minerals or a maltodextrin placebo. The lutein was the equivalent of three or four ounces of spinach.

In 2001 scientists at Johns Hopkins released the AREDS study that said that a combination of minerals and vitamins known as AREDS might help put the brakes on macular degeneration. Some went so far as to say If all the people at risk for macular degeneration took the vitamin supplements used in the earlier study, more than 300,000 of them would avoid advanced macular degeneration and any associated vision loss during the next five years, the study found. Read Daily Vitamins Could Prevent Vision Loss Among Thousands, Researchers Say and see The AREDS Formulation below.

Two Forms of Macular DegenerationThere are two forms of macular degeneration. In people with the dry form of macular degeneration the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. In the wet form of macular degeneration "abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye." Read this incredibly excellent document Age-Related Macular Degeneration: What You Should Know from the National Eye Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.



The AREDS FormulationIn the year 2001, scientists in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) Research Group reported a reduced risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration and its associated vision loss...... for study participants who were assigned to high-dose supplementation with antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene) plus zinc as zinc oxide or zinc alone".

In a report in the Archives of Ophthalmology scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore estimated that there are 8 million Americans at least 55 years old who are thought to be at high risk for macular degeneration. If all the people at risk for macular degeneration took the vitamin supplements used in the earlier study, more than 300,000 of them would avoid advanced macular degeneration and any associated vision loss during the next five years, the study found. Read Daily Vitamins Could Prevent Vision Loss Among Thousands, Researchers Say





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