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What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that affects people over the age of 50. It is the leading cause of vision loss in older people. Individuals with AMD are not completely blind, but they are losing their central vision, making it difficult for them to see faces, read, drive, or do close-up work around the house such as cooking or fixing things. Individuals suffering from AMD are unable to see fine details, whether they are looking at something close or far away.

AMD progresses slowly in some people and quickly in others. AMD is a type of eye disease that causes blurring of the central vision of the eyes due to damage to the macula. The macula is a part of the retina that controls sharp, straight, and ahead vision.

Types of AMD

There are two types of AMD:

Dry AMD

The most common type of AMD, accounting for approximately 80% of all AMD. Dry AMD occurs when parts of the macula thin with age and tiny clumps of protein known as drusen form.

Wet AMD

A less common type of late AMD known as advance neovascular AMD causes faster vision loss. Wet AMD can develop at any stage of dry AMD, but it is always the late stage of AMD. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop in the back of the eye, causing damage to the macula. The good news is that there are treatment options for wet AMD.



Stages of AMD

Early dry AMD causes no symptoms.

Some people with intermediate dry AMD still have no symptoms. Others may experience mild symptoms such as mild blurriness in their central vision or difficulty seeing in low light.

Many people who have late AMD (both wet and dry type) have noticed that straight lines become wavy or crooked. People may also notice a blurry area near the center of their vision. This blurry vision may worsen over time, and people may notice blank spots.

Treatment for AMD

There is currently no treatment that can help AMD in its early stages. Individuals with a lot of drusen or severe vision loss, on the other hand, may benefit from a specific combination of nutritional supplements based on the National Eye Institute's (NEI) AREDS and AREDS 2 eye surveys (Age-Related Eye Disease Studies). Vitamins like C and E, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, zinc, and copper.

Aside from that, the eye doctor will usually schedule follow-up appointments to monitor/track how the eyes are doing with regular eye exams. Consuming healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and quit smoking can all help prevent and improve eye problems.

In the advanced stages of AMD, an eye doctor will consult with individuals about the necessary treatment to slow the progression of the eye problem.

References

1.   National Eye Institute (NEI). Age related macular degeneration (AMD). https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/age-related-macular-degeneration (Retrieved on January 5, 2023).

2.   American Academy of Ophtalmology (AAO). What is macular degeneration?   https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd-macular-degeneration (Retrieved on January 5, 2023).

3.   National Health Services (NHS, UK). What is AMD? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/ (Retrieved on January 5, 2023). 


Be aware of blue light and its effects.

Sunlight constitutes of red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, and violet. When these colours combine, they form the white light that we see. Each of these colours has a different wavelength and energy level, with blue having a shorter wavelength and more energy and red having a longer wavelength and less energy. Light that appears white may contain more blue wavelengths. Sunlight is the most abundant source of blue light. Fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, flat-screen LED televisions, computer monitors, smart phones, and tablet screens are among the others.




Almost all visible blue light is absorbed by the cornea and lens before reaching the retina. This light could impair vision and prematurely age the eyes. According to preliminary research, excessive blue light exposure may cause (1) digital eyestrain (2) retinal damage.


At night, blue light, which appears to be beneficial during the day, appears to be the most disruptive. Blue light is beneficial during the day because it can improve attention, reaction times, and mood; however, with the proliferation of electronics with screens and energy efficient lighting, humans are constantly exposed to blue wavelength, particularly after sundown.



According to research, exposure to blue wavelengths after sundown affects the body's circadian rhythm, increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

A Harvard study found a possible link between light after sundown, the body's circadian rhythm, diabetes, and obesity. The researchers put ten people on a schedule that gradually shifted their circadian rhythm timing. Their blood sugar levels increase, putting them at risk of diabetes, and their leptin levels increase as well (a hormone that promotes feeling full after a meal, went down).


Another blue light study compared the effects of 6.5 hours of blue light exposure to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. Blue light suppressed melatonin about twice as much as green light during the same exposure period, which shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).


In conclusion, blue light after sundown can affect health in a variety of ways. While we need this to progress in this modern society, we can also make minor adjustments to make things work without jeopardizing health.


  •        For night lights, use dim red lights because red light is less likely to disrupt the circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
  •       Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two or three hours before sleep.
  •       Consider wearing blue-blocking glasses at night if you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices.
  •       Allow yourself to be exposed to a lot of bright light during the day, which will improve your ability to sleep at night as well as your mood and alertness during the day.

References

  1.       Blue light has a dark side. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side (Retrieved on January 3, 2023).
  2.       Seeing blue: How can blue light affect your health. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/blue-light-health (Retrieved on January 3, 2023).
  3.       What is blue light. Prevent blindness. https://preventblindness.org/blue-light-and-your-eyes/ (Retrieved on January 3, 2023).  

 

 

Healthy Living, Healthy Vision.

Tips for eye care are closely related to living a healthy lifestyle in general. Most eye problems, if they are not genetic (based on family history), are caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, and artery narrowing or hardening. All of these issues, if left untreated, will result in vision loss.

 

Eat Healthy Food

 

It is commonly assumed that the health of your eyes is unrelated to what you consume, but the truth is that it is. Consuming nutrient-dense foods will allow you to maintain good health, thereby avoiding complications that may arise in your eyes as a result of your health complications.

 

As part of a healthy diet, choose foods high in antioxidants, such as vitamins A and C, which have been shown to benefit eye health. Foods high in vitamins A and C include green leafy vegetables and foods with bright colours like orange and red. It also contains carotenoid, which is beneficial to the eyes. Carotenoid is an antioxidant found in plants that are brightly coloured, such as red, orange, yellow, and green. Aside from that, it can act as a cancer-fighting agent. Carotenoid works in the macular (the most sensitive part of the retina responsible for vision production and colour perception).


Lutein and zeaxhantin are types of carotenoids.



Inadequate antioxidant intake, alcohol consumption, or saturated fat consumption may result in free-radical reactions that harm the macula. High-fat diets can also cause deposits in the arteries that restrict blood flow. Because of the small size of the blood vessels that feed the eyes, they are especially sensitive to this.



Exercise regularly

 

By exercise regularly, body will have lower risk of getting various kind of metabolic disease such as diabetes, kidney problem and heart problem, thus lower the risk of getting complication that can impair eyes function. Example of metabolic disease that can impair eyes directly is, diabetes, which in the later stage can cause diabetic retinopathy. The condition where blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina) is damaged. At first, it may cause no symptoms or mild blurry vision, eventually it can cause blindness.



 

Wear sunglasses

 

The American Academy of Opthalmology (AAO) encourages people to protect their eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays. Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement; they are also a wise and healthy choice. Long-term sun exposure without adequate protection can increase the risk of eye disease such as cataract, macular degeneration, eye growth, and a rare form of eye cancer.

 

While short-term exposure can also damage the eyes. Sun reflecting off water can cause a painful sunburn on the front part of the eye, called photokeratitis. It causes redness, blurry vision, sensitivity to bright light, and in rare cases, even temporary vision loss.

 

The good news is that prevention is simple: Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.


 

Quit smoking

 

Smoking is not only bad for your lungs. It can hurt your eyes, as well. Smoking increases your risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.

 

Eye care in conclusion

 

People usually take their eyesight and health for granted; it was only when we began to lose the ability that we began to take it seriously. Start taking care of your eyes now by doing the above. If you are constantly looking at a screen, you can also give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you have a family history of eye problems, schedule a comprehensive dilate eye exam on a regular basis. If you wear contact lenses, make sure to disinfect them and replace them on a regular basis. Also, remember to wash your hands before touching your eyes or face

 

References


 


Why screening is bad for eye health ?

In this fast-changing world that we are in today, people want things to be done quick and always ready! People use various kind of devices and gadgets to speed up process of doing work. Initially, computer was built not for the sake of email and doing work, but it is actually to calculate and tabulate census for United States of America population since the population has grown bigger, it was started with a machine sort of punch card machine in 1880, where due to this the government save about $5 million in order to tabulate the census. From that sort of punch card machine, Alan Turing then presents another universal machine which capable of computing anything that is computable, the central concept of modern computer today is based on his ideas. Few years later, in 1939 Hewlet – Packard is founded by David Packard and Bill Hewlett in California, until today the computer that we are using is evolve from time to time, to the small smartphone on our hands that is capable of doing so many thing just like the bulky desktop (1).

 

 

All these technologies make us even more connected to devices like smartphone to connect with other people or to get things done. From paying bills, to designing, networking, sales, work, presentation, you name it all must be done using laptop, computer, smart phone, and the devices. The fact is everyone everyday is looking at the screen for long time, when the recommended hour to look at the screen is only 2 hours per day (2).

 

Why screening is bad for eyes?

 

White light that we see from sun and electronic devices is a combination from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. Each of these lights has different energy and wavelength. Rays on red have longer wavelength and less energy, while the blue rays have shorter wavelength and more energy. Light that looks white can have a large blue component, which can expose the eye to a higher amount of wavelength from the blue end spectrum (3).

 

 

Sun also have this blue light, but blue light exposure from screen is small compared to exposure from sun, thus why makes it bad for eyes. Furthermore, screen exposure has closer proximity to eyes and the time spent looking at screen is longer than at the sun (3,4).

 

Almost all visible blue light penetrates the eyes through cornea, lens and reaches the retina, due to this, it makes eyes prematurely aging.

 

Blue light from computer screens and digital devices can decrease contrast leading to digital eyestrain. Fatigue, dry eyes, bad lighting, or how you sit in front of the computer can cause eyestrain. Symptoms of eyestrain include sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing. Apart from that, studies also suggested that continued exposure to blue light over time could lead to damaged retina cells. This condition can cause problems like age-related macular degeneration (4).

 

Macular degeneration is the result of photoreceptor cell death in the retina. The function of the photoreceptor cells is to capture visual images and signal them to the brain using a molecule called retinal. Retinal, which is produced by the eye, is triggered by blue light and causes various chemical reactions. These reactions within the eye can be poisonous to the photoreceptor cell molecules rendering them damaged. When these photoreceptor cells die, there’s no regeneration (4).

 

 

What can we do?

 

With the current work requirements where most of work and stuff need to be accomplished through the usage of electronic devices thus screening is very much essential, makes it even harder to take care eyes from the screen. No! There are actually ways to take care of your eyes still, apart from consume food that is high with antioxidants and vitamins that can improve eyesight condition you may also try and practice the tips below (5)!

 

 


The benefits of antioxidants for eyes.

As humans, we never truly appreciate our senses until we lose them. One of the many things we should be thankful for is our senses of smell, touch, sound, taste, and sight. Isn't it horrible to wake up one day and not be able to see, touch, hear sound, or smell?

 

Many people take their sense of sight for granted because they believe that vision problems can be corrected with the help of lenses or spectacles. People even take it lightly now that we have advanced technology, such as Lasik surgery, because they believe there is a cure. When, in fact, there are numerous health complications or conditions that can impair your ability to see, such as being diagnosed with diabetes. Isn't it terrifying?

 

The good news is that nutrition can prevent this from happening! A varied and balanced diet can help to prevent many diseases, including blindness. Many studies have found that consuming antioxidants, also known as cancer fighting agents, can help prevent vision loss. Antioxidants are compounds that aid in the scavenging of free radicals that can cause cell mutation and cancer.

 

Since many of these antioxidants are found in plant-based diets such as vegetables and fruits, one mechanism for this is said to be due to the prevention of other chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, lowering the risk of vision loss. Lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin A, omega 3, and vitamin C are all antioxidants that have been linked to vision health (2). 


Lutein and zeaxanthin are members of the carotenoid family, which is a well-known antioxidant for eye health. Apart from being found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, it can also be found in yellowish, orange-red plant-based foods like capsicum. In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to protect plants from overexposure to sunlight, particularly high-energy light rays known as blue light. While in the human body, lutein and zeaxanthin are abundant in the macula of the human eye, the name 'macula lutea' is derived from lutein, which means yellow spot.





The National Eyes Institute (NEI) conducted research on lutein, zeaxanthin, and the effect of carotenoids supplement taking in May 2013. It is the second largest eye- disease research study, namely, AREDS2. The purpose of this study was to see how nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, affected the prevention of AMD and other age-related eye diseases. For five years, participants in this study were given 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin every day. The use of daily antioxidant supplementation reduces the risk of progressive Age-related-Macular Degeneration (AMD) by 25% among those with early and intermediate macular degeneration, according to this study. However, it is unclear whether it can aid in the prevention of cataracts and their complications.

 

Vitamin A is another common antioxidant for the eyes. Night blindness is commonly caused by a lack of vitamin A. Vitamin A functions as photoreceptors, where it aids in the maintenance of light-sensing cells in the eyes. It's found in animal-based foods like dairy and egg yolk.

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (1,2)


EPA and DHA, which are derived from omega-3 fatty acids, are essential not only for brain development during infancy, but also for vision health. A study of people with dry eyes found that taking EPA and DHA supplements daily for three months significantly reduced dry eye symptoms by increasing tear fluid production (lacrimal fluid). Oily fish is a good source of EPA and DHA, and microalgae supplements are also available.



 

Vitamin E (1,3)


Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that protects fatty acids from oxidation. Because the retina contains a high concentration of fatty acids, adequate vitamin E intake is essential for good eye health. A study that supplemented 7 mg of vitamins E found that it can reduce the risk of age-related cataracts by 6%. However, a randomized controlled study discovered that vitamin E supplementation does not slow or prevent the progression of people who already have eye problems. Almonds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed oil are good sources of vitamin E.

 

 

Vitamin C (1,3)

 

Vitamin C is commonly consumed for skin purposes, but since many studies have discovered that vitamin C is an important antioxidant for eye health as well, many supplements are now beginning to incorporate vitamin c rich sources in eye supplementation. It's a good thing because it gives you two effects in one!

 

Zinc (1,3)

 

Zinc is abundant in the eyes. It functions as a transporter for vitamin A, which is later involved in the formation of visual pigments in the retina known as melanin. As a result, zinc deficiency has been linked to night blindness. Oysters are a natural dietary resource high in zinc that is also beneficial to men's health!

 

In conclusion


Taking care of your vision health entails more than just avoiding screens and wearing sunglasses when you go outside. It is also what you put inside your body. Again, healthy eating is important for overall health, including vision!

 

References


 


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