Macular Degeneration, often times referred to as Age-Related Macular Degeneration or AMD, has historically been associated with advancing age. This disease causes damage to the macula which can result in the decline or loss of central vision.
Risk Factors for Developing AMD:
- Family History & Genetics
- Low Macular Pigment Density
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop AMD than men
- Blue Light Exposure
As we become a more tech-savvy society, there is a shift in those experiencing Macular Degeneration. Blue light is believed to be a contributing factor in the development of AMD and our increased exposure to blue light from our smartphones, computers, and LED lighting (all producers of blue light) is believed to be causing this change. There is a layer of yellow pigment which acts as a protective layer for the macula and over time, exposure to blue light can deplete this layer, allowing blue light to damage the macula directly. Our practice places a strong focus on educating our patients on the harmful effects of blue light. Limiting the time spent on electronic devices can greatly lessen the damage to the macular pigment. In today’s world however, it is not always possible. We recommend BluTech lenses for our patients with a low macular pigment density, a family history of AMD, increased exposure to blue light, and patients who are experiencing eye strain or Computer Vision Syndrome.
While protection from blue light is key in the prevention of AMD, it is also important to build the macular pigment. The macular pigment is made up of carotenoids and can be built up through diet and supplementation. Focus on eating plenty of dark leafy greens, such as kale or spinach, to boost your macular pigment density. Often, individuals cannot build their pigment layers through diet alone and will require supplementation. We recommend Macuhealth to our patients. Macuhealth contains all 3 of the carotenoids that make up the macular pigment – lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin. For the best absorption of Macuhealth take with a high-quality fish oil – we recommend Pure Encapsulations.
AMD is a progressive disease and often, patients will not notice a change in their vision until the disease is in an advanced stage. While the disease is manageable, an annual eye exam and following an ocular wellness plan can ensure your best chance for preventing the development of this disease.