The macula is the very small central part of the retina of the eye.
The retinal cones of the macula are the part of the eye that are most important for sharp, central, straight ahead vision. If the retinal cones are damaged then the images falling on them will be seen incorrectly.
The central line of vision may be blurry or have parts missing, straight lines may be distorted and in advanced cases an object viewed directly ahead may not be able to be seen. Objects to the side may be seen more accurately.
One way in which the retinal cones can become damaged is through small white deposits called Drusen affecting the Bruchs layer on which the macula rests. Drusen are a build up of waste products and indicate a metabolic disturbance in the eye.
Ultraviolet rays from sunlight are known to contribute to the development andprogression of macular degeneration.
Macula degeneration is a progressive disease of the eye and is usually age related, occurring mainly in people over 55 years of age.
There are two different types, known as ‘wet’ or ‘dry’, based on the absence or presence of abnormal growth of blood vessels under the retina.
The ‘dry’ type is the most common and progression of the disease is slow.
The ‘wet’ type, in which the blood vessels under the retina cause leakage, bleeding and scarring is more severe and loss of sight more rapid.
For the ‘dry’ type there is no known treatments but the ‘wet’ type can in some instances be treated with lasers.
I have also so read on the internet that there is a drug under study that may be able to close off the leaking blood vessels and help slow the progress of the disease.
As far as natural treatments go, most are far more effective in hopefully preventing or at least slowing the progress of the condition if it is not already in an advanced state.
All are aimed increasing circulation to the eye and therefore increasing the availability of nutrients to the eye.
Increasing nutrients that are concentrated in the retina can lessen the risk of macula degeneration.
Also, increasing minerals that are known to help heal occurring damage and protect the eye from free radical damage can help immensly.
To try and protect your eyes from macula degeneration and for those wanting to try and prevent further damage:
Firstly, protect your eyes from excessive ultraviolet rays.
Secondly, eat plenty of green and yellow veges as these contain the caroteniods lutein and zeaxanthin (mainly found in maize), which are found in high concentrations in the retina. The function of these pigments is thought to be to absorb blue near-UV light, thereby helping protect the macula from oxidatisation and free radical damage.
Recent research has shown that zeaxanthin is biochemically derived from lutein by the body. Although spinach and other green veges contain good amounts of lutein it has been found that the body metabolises the lutein found in egg yolks more efficiently. There is about 30mcg of lutein in 100gms of yolk. This is a lot of egg yolk.
Lutein can also be found in some herbal supplements designed to aid eye function and for many this can be a more effective method of obtaining lutein.
Thirdly, take supplements as listed below:
-Zinc – prevents further deterioration in the early stages of macula degeneration and also interacts with Vitamin A. Best taken as colloidal minerals but otherwise at least 45mg daily.
-Selenium – also found in colloidal minerals but otherwise 2-400mcg daily.
– Vitamin C – 500-2000mg daily
– Vitamin E – 400IU daily.
– Vitamin A – 15mg.
-Ginkgo Biloba 1-2000mg daily.
-Bilberry (vaccinium myrtillar) 2-3000mg daily.
-Grapeseed – 1000mg daily
– Omega 3 – about 1000mg daily or from oily fish in the diet. Omega 3 is essential to the health of the macula as it prevents the build up of waste products called Drusen.