As the population ages, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is becoming more prevalent. Two recent studies about different vitamins may hold the answer to managing and slowing down the deleterious effects of this serious disease.
The first study shows that people with increased levels of vitamin D are less likely to have an early onset of this sight-threatening condition. In this study, women who consumed the most vitamin D had a 59 percent lower risk of developing AMD, compared to age-matched women who took in the least vitamin D.
Vitamin D is available in many foods and is produced naturally by your body during exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Still, many experts recommend taking a daily supplement to increase your vitamin D levels.
Meanwhile, scientists at Columbia University are trying to slow down the progrrssion of AMD by slowing down the buildup of vitamin A in the eye.
In order for the retina to process light, vitamin A has to undergo a series of chemical transformations, which often causes the vitamin to form ‘clumpy’ deposits. These deposits are the basis of AMD.
Now a team at the department of ophthalmology at Columbia’s Harkness Eye Institute, have synthesized a modified vitamin A drug. By feeding this artificial vitamin A to healthy mice, the experts were able to reduce the amount of vitamin A deposits without any noticeable side effects. These findings may eventually help to reduce the risk of, and in some cases stop, the condition in its tracks.
While these two studies show hope in the treatment of AMD, until more concrete results are produced patients need to take the condition seriously. Anyone with a family history of Macular Degeneration should visit their optometrist yearly for a comprehensive eye exam. If your eye doctor has seen early signs of AMD, your may need to be seen more frequently.