Macular Degeneration


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.