AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration)
This is the most common form of vision impairment in the UK and accounts for over 50% of blind registrations in the over-65 age group. This is significantly greater than the combined numbers of people suffering vision loss from cataract and glaucoma.
AMD is caused by a build up of natural biological waste products in the macula, the small central area of the retina at the back of the eye which is responsible for producing sharp, detailed central vision. In younger, healthier eyes these waste products are efficiently carried away, but where they persist they lead to cell destruction in the macula, so leading to loss and/or distortion of central vision (see picture for comparison).
‘Dry’ AMD is the more common and less severe form, whereby the waste products cause the area to thin and dry out, with visual deterioration occuring as the macula becomes distorted. There are currently no treatments available for this form of AMD.
Dry AMD can sometimes lead on to ‘wet’ AMD – this occurs when the eye tries to ‘fix itself’ by growing new, and unfortunately weak, abnormal blood vessels in the area. These can rupture causing a significant area of central vision to be lost and/or distorted. Photodynamic therapy, injection of a special light-sensitive drug combined with laser treatment to destroy the new vessels has had some success in treating in wet AMD.
Risk factors for AMD include smoking, UV exposure and poor (especially high fat) diet. Certain vitamins and nutrients may prevent or delay AMD progression – the I-Caps dietary supplement (available from us) provides the critical antioxidant vitamins, minerals and carotenoids in convenient tablet form.