You’ve Been Diagnosed with AMD: Now What?

You’ve Been Diagnosed with AMD: Now What?

You are not alone. Receiving a diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration is a difficult thing to hear, however there are sustainable medical treatments that can help. The constant advancement of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) therapeutics is emerging daily which means a cure for macular degeneration is just around the corner. 

Until a solid remedy is found, many medical interventions are being used to slow down the progression of this disease offering you years of holding on to your sight. These conventional approaches include a variety of applications that may include oral medication, injection therapy, or surgical intervention. Working with your eye doctor to utilize the best conventional approach possible is essential to fighting macular degeneration, however there are some natural choices you can integrate as well. 

If you have been diagnosed with AMD or early onset macular degeneration (Stargardt’s disease the inherited juvenile form of macular degeneration affects 1 in 8,000-10,000 children), consider talking to your eye doctor about some of these traditional remedies that may spark healing and/or assist medical therapies. 

Many studies back the use of eye strengthening supplements, dietary change, and other unconventional applications for AMD prevention or treatment. These may help you keep your vision a lot longer than solely using pharmaceutical approaches. 

Common Diagnosis

As mentioned, you are not alone. Although this may not make you feel that much better about receiving an AMD diagnosis, it does let you know how prevalent this disease is and why so many researchers are scrambling for an AMD cure. 

According to the Bright Focus Foundation,

“As many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of age-related macular degeneration. This number is expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050. The number of people living with macular degeneration is expected to reach 196 million worldwide by 2020 and increase to 288 million by 2040.”

These numbers are not meant to scare you, they are meant to bring awareness to ways you can prevent or slow AMD progression through natural remedies. Changing old habits and integrating new ones may trigger your body to target your retina for optimal enhancement through diet, supplements, and more.

Revamp Your Plate

The more you look around the more you may be seeing advertisements for vegan or vegetarian food options. These eating labels may not fit into your lifestyle but if you simply think of adding more ‘plant-based’ choices to your daily meals, you may not have to embrace such labels after all. Plant-based eating is showing great strides in the fight against macular degeneration. 

If you have been diagnosed with AMD, slow down your animal food intake, processed foods, and excessive sugars and increase your plant based choices instead.

Kale – This dark green leafy vegetable was, for some time, recommended in just about every meal due to its high antioxidant quality. Although the ‘kale craze’ has diminished it doesn’t mean it should leave your plate. 

According to WebRN, 

“As far back as 1994 a Harvard study was done by Dr. Johanna Seddon. The conclusion of that study was that those who ate at least 5 servings of dark leafy greens per week had a 43% lower risk of developing AMD than those who ate small amounts or none at all.”

Other dark green leafy vegetables are also recommended along with color compounds found in fruits and vegetables as well.  

The American Optometric Association (AOA) stated that, 

“Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, are a family of colored compounds found in fruits and vegetables. We consume and use 14 different carotenoids in our diet. Lutein and zeaxanthin-found in dark, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, collard greens and kale-are particularly effective in the retinal pigment layer. Studies show that a diet high in these materials have some effect on delaying the advancement of AMD.”

The American Macular Degeneration Foundation has created a recipe book called, ‘Eat Right for Your Sight’ which offers a complete and easy guide to follow for sight reinforcement meal choices. 

Eye Strengthening Supplements

In addition to changing your diet, adding potent eye strengthening supplementation could offer some significant assistance in fighting macular degeneration. These are specific capsulized formulas created just for AMD application and can be found in good health food or supplement store near you. 

The AOA also reported,

“Taking synthetic supplements that contain these carotenoids, along with the vitamins C and E and zinc, has been proven to limit the disease in patients with advanced signs and symptoms of AMD. Also, because the method of food preparation can impact your body’s ability to fully benefit from these natural sources of carotenoids, taking supplements can help assure people are getting the proper levels.”

When searching for AMD supplements make sure they include the formula associated with the AREDS2 (Age-related Eye Disease Study). This is the updated info from the original AREDS data. 

This formula as recommended by the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF) is:

  • Lutein, 6-10 mg
  • Vitamin C, 500 mg
  • Vitamin E, 200 – 400 IU
  • Vitamin D3, 1000 – 2000 IU
  • Zeaxanthin, 2 mg
  • May also include Zinc, 20 – 80 mg
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, 1000 mg (fish oil) if not eating fish

An additional supplement to consider is saffron. Recent research determines saffron as highly significant in AMD treatment.

Saffron – This costly spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus has long been used as a seasoning and coloring additive to food recipes. It turns out that a saffron supplement capsule may be a powerful tool in battling AMD.

The study, ‘Short-term Outcomes of Saffron Supplementation in Patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration: A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Randomized Trial’ published in Medical Hypothesis, Discovery & Innovation (MEHDI) Journals concluded that, 

“In this study, we demonstrated the efficacy of saffron supplementation for improving retinal function after 3 months of daily treatment in patients with AMD. In addition, our results suggest that saffron supplementation, when combined with intravitreal bevacizumab, may significantly improve macular thickness in patients with wet AMD after 6 months of daily treatment. Our results are in agreement with other studies with similar follow-up durations that showed a significant improvement in retinal function in association with antioxidant supplementation.” 

Block the Blue

Eating plant-based choices and taking good potent AMD supplements are excellent internal boosters for fighting AMD. However, it is imperative that you protect your eyes on the outside as well. Blue light exposure from digital devices to outdoor reflective sun rays have shown over and over in study after study to be highly damaging to your retina. After your AMD diagnosis you should run to the nearest eyeglass location and purchase the best blue blocker sunglasses you can find. 

Forbes magazine reported, 

“…new research from the University of Toledo demonstrates that when blue light hits a molecule called retinal, it triggers a cascade of chemical reactions that could be toxic to cells in the retina of the eye…The researchers suggest that progressive destruction of light-detecting cells in the eyes due to prolonged exposure to blue light could therefore contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness. ”

Look for glasses that absorb blue light. These glasses are usually tinted amber or orange for optimal performance and should wrap around to prevent side light exposure. Although there are many inexpensive choices, you must make sure that you invest wisely for lenses that offer UV400 protection, glare reduction, and other blue blocking features. Wear them all the time especially when it is cloudy outside when reflective light can actually be most dangerous. In addition, talk to your eye doctor about computer glasses which will also protect you from interior and digital light as well. 

If you have been diagnosed with AMD, these are the essential steps you can take to protect yourself beyond medical intervention. In addition, you can also consider a talk therapy group of people going through the same struggle. This will not only validate and support your feelings of fear and helplessness but could also offer other AMD treatment options you may not be aware of. Be sure to maintain eye checkups and increase a healthy lifestyle (diet/exercise) so you can maintain your sight for as long as possible.