Age Related Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a disease in which one’s central vision becomes distorted, and then progresses to more and more blur.

Current research indicates a number of risk factors such as:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Race (Caucasians and Asians have a higher risk than Hispanics and African-Americans)
  • Skin pigmentation (fairer skin presents higher risk than darker skin) & iris color (blue higher than darker irises)
  • Smoking (may increase risk by 300%)
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Nutrition

Since nutrition is one of the risk factors, it is important to know what types of foods and supplements would be helpful to reduce risk for those patients who are either at higher risk, or for those in whom we find early macular changes that may lead to ARMD in the future.

There are a number of nutrients that are good for the macula, including Vitamins A, B, C, E; carotenoids such as bilberry, lutein, and zeaxanthin; bioflavenoids; amino acids such as cysteine and taurine; essential fatty acids such as Omega 3; CoQ19 enzyme; and minerals, to name a few.

Foods rich in these nutrients include:

  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli)
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish

Recent studies have recommended nutritional supplements for those who are at higher risk for ARMD.  These include:

  • An eye vitamin with the AREDS formula (with natural beta carotene vs. synthetic), lutein and zeaxanthin, like Preservision with AREDS 2 formula and lutein and zeaxanthin or Macutrition
  • An Omega-3 fatty acid tablet that includes DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) in a 2/3 ratio.  A couple of tablets found in local stores include Kirkland Fish Oil tablets from Costco, and Nordic Naturals Omega 3 or Ultimate Omega from Whole Foods.  Whole Foods also has a liquid form for those who have difficulty swallowing these large gelcaps.