Macular degeneration is a retinal disease in
which the visual receptors begin to break down. The macula is the portion of the retina that is specifically affected
in this disease. The macula is very densely packed with visual receptor cells, therefore it allows for crisp,
detailed central vision. When these cells begin to break down, sharp central vision becomes difficult.
There are two forms of macular degeneration, dry and
wet. The dry form of macular degeneration involves the simple breakdown of visual receptor cells. No treatment
is currently available for the the dry version, however, AREDS 2 approved vitamins high in vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin
have been shown to lower the risk of macular degeneration progressing to advanced stages by at least 25 percent.
The recommended AREDS 2 Formulation contains:
Vitamin C 500 mg
Vitamin E 400 IU
Lutein 10 mg
Zeaxanthin 2 mg
Zinc (zinc oxide) 80 mg
Copper (cupric oxide) 2 mg
The wet form of macular degeneration is more visually
devastating and involves the formation of leaky, blood vessels within the macula. These vessels leak blood into
the macula damaging the tissue and resulting in more severe vision loss. Laser treatment and intravitreal injections
are treatment options available for the wet version of the disease.
The exact reason that these cells break down is still being investigated. Although the exact
cause of this disease is not fullly understood, risk factors include smoking or a history of smoking, genetics,
and excessive ultra-violet light exposure. Yearly eye examinations and home monitoring with an amsler grid are vital
in monitoring the progress of macular degeneration.