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Dispensing Optician - P. Potter

Macular Degeneration

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Macular Degeneration

“Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a deterioration or breakdown of the eye’s macula. The macula is a small area in the retina — the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine detail”

Macula pigment is a yellow substance at the back of the eye that helps keep your macula healthy and functioning; it is made up of three carotenoids – lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are found through the food that we eat, apart from meso-zeaxanthin. Our body converts lutein into meso-zeaxanthin through an enzyme found within our bodies. Some people do not convert this as effectively as others and this puts them at a greater risk of macula disease due to lower pigment levels.

At The Spectacle Shop we are now able, due to new technology, to measure the amount of macula pigment that your eyes have and this can give us a good indication of your potential risk of macula diseases later on in life. We are able to modify this risk through changes in your diet – by adding more lutein rich foods and dietary changes.

With the help of MPS II machine we can measure the pigment level and we are then able to see if dietary changes alone are enough to boost the pigment within your eyes.

If your pigment levels are still low then you may be a person whose body has trouble converting lutein and in this instance it would be advised to take a supplement containing meso-zeaxanthin. This carotenoid has been found within the edible marigold flower and some companies have made this into a food supplement that you can take in the form of a daily tablet. The ones we have found so far are LutiGold and Macushield. These products will give your body the required meso-zeaxanthin and in most cases boost your macula pigment.

In some instances with dry Age Related Macular Degeneration, taking the supplement containing meso-zeaxanthin has actually helped to reverse some of the effects caused, however there are also many ways, aside from taking a supplement, in which you can help yourself to maintain a healthy pigment level.

Firstly, we would advise that you ask your immediate family whether they have Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) or whether there is a family history of ARMD. Having a genetic predisposition to ARMD is one of the biggest risk factors for the disease and if there is a history of ARMD or any other eye disease then it becomes even more important to check your pigment level through the MPS II machine.

Second, be aware of “blue light”. Blue light is harmful light emitted from computers, tablets and mobile phones as well as other electronic devices. Exposure to blue light causes a gradual oxidation and deterioration of the macular pigment and macula which can lead to Age Related Macular Degeneration. We advise taking regular breaks when using electronic devices and trying to limit the time spent using such devices in general.

Smoking, aside from a family history of macular degeneration is the number one risk factor (and controllable risk factor!) that can lead to Age Related Macular Degeneration. It is common knowledge now that smoking causes cancer and other illnesses, however, many people are still very unaware of the impact that smoking can have on eye health.

“Juicing” is very much a buzz word at the moment. Juicing involves blending (ideally organic) fruit and vegetables into a juice drink. We have found that it is a fantastic way to ensure the freshest nutrients are entering the body in their purest form. When the fruit and vegetables are blended it makes them easier to digest. In our experience we have found that our patients who are juicing regularly have higher than average pigment levels. There are hundreds of juicing recipes available online or alternatively if you call into The Spectacle Shop in Barnsley we can offer expert eye care advice on a face to face basis or email here call 01226 296770 for telephone advice.

If you are concerned about your pigment levels and the impact that this may have on the potential progression of Age Related Macular Degeneration you can contact us here to book your FREE MPS II test.

19-09-2015