Why eating right can save your sight…

London: Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the UK, known to affect some 608,213 [i]. AMD is the most common cause of registrations for blindness or partial sight[ii] and is more common in women than men (vii).


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AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows a person to see fine detail and gradually destroys the sharp, central vision, which is needed for seeing objects clearly, and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving2. Although it rarely results in complete blindness, it robs the individual of all but the outermost, peripheral vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the centre of vision and often stripping those with the condition of their confidence and independence.

 

With many of us valuing sight over any other sense, it is essential that we maintain our eye health, this can helped by ensuring you are receiving key nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins C, E and A and Carotenoids. So during AMD Awareness Week (22-30 September) is a good time to remind you about what your eyes need from your diet:

 

 

·         Omega-3 fatty acids: Our bodies are unable to produce Omega-3 fatty acids, so we must obtain them through our diet. DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is one such Omega-3. The highest concentration of DHA in our body is found within the retina, where it plays an essential role in regulating its function[i]Omega-3 fats are also thought to protect the arteries that supply blood to the retina[ii]Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in: Oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mack
erel, anchovies and sardines.

 

·         Vitamins C, E and A:  Are essential for eye health as they have antioxidant properties and therefore help protect against free radical molecules. Produced by the interaction of light and oxygen, free radical molecules can cause chemical damage to the retina. Studies have shown that people who eat adequate levels of antioxidants, which counteract free radical damage, tend to preserve their eyesight for longer than those who don’t[iii]Vitamins C, E and A can be found in leafy greens = Kale / spinach / cress / parsley / leafy cabbage.

 

·         Carotenoids: Are natural fat-soluble pigments found in certain plants and provide the bright red, orange, or yellow colour of many vegetables.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids that accumulate in our retina, and are most concentrated in the macula and also occur in the lens of the eye. They act as antioxidants, protecting the tissue of the eyes by absorbing harmful blue light and neutralising harmful free radicals. As the body can’t produce lutein by itself, it has to be absorbed from food. Peppers, Carrots and Tomatoes are all a great source of carotenoids.

 

Your vision-boosting shopping list

 

  • Oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines
  • Leafy greens = Kale / spinach / cress / parsley / leafy cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Seeds and seed oils, such as sunflower and safflower
  • Nuts and nut oils, such as almonds and hazelnuts
  • Red pepper
  • Blackcurrant
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Red meats, especially beef, lamb and liver

 

 

In an ideal world, our diet would provide us with all the vitamins and minerals we need – but evidence from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that a significant proportion of the UK population simply doesn’t achieve nutritional sufficiency through diet alone[1]

Ian Grierson, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Liverpool notes: While research suggests that vitamins A, C, E and zinc can help keep the eye healthy, it is carotenoids, the pigments that occur naturally in plants and algae, which offer the most precise way of targeting the damage that causes sight loss. In particular, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin act directly to absorb the damaging blue and near-ultraviolet light, in order to protect the macula. Any yellow or orange plants or vegetables contain them. They are also abundant in green vegetables such as kale and spinach.

 

“We should be eating 6mg of lutein a day, but the average consumption is only 2mg, which is way too low. In the Second World War, our average intake was 4-5mg and we weren’t even trying. But you cannot just eat vegetables alone, as lutein needs fat to be absorbed.  Egg yolk is one of the UKs main sources of lutein – there is not much there, but the little there is absorbed efficiently. That is why eggs Florentine is such an effective meal – the spinach is a high source of lutein and the egg yolk maximises absorption In fact, a 2005 study at the Ohio State University, Columbus, found that carotenoids absorption was enhanced by the consumption of avocado oil and fruit.”

 

So, what to do is you aren’t gaining all the nutrients you need from your diet?

 

 

Ocuvite Complete Eye Vitamins & Minerals 60 CapsulesBausch + Lomb’s Ocuvite® Complete is an advanced supplement, formulated to provide nutritional support for the eye based on the most current research. Ocuvite® Complete contains high quality omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C&E, and zinc. Available from Boots, independent pharmacists and optometrists, priced ÂŁ15.25 (RRP). “The advantage of nutritional carotenoid supplements is that the levels are much higher than those found in food, so supplementation is a much more reliable way of ensuring consistent levels of essential micronutrients are absorbed by the body. A supplement providing the right balance of lutein, zeaxanthin and Omega-3s is not only safe, but could protect eyes against future age related changes when diet alone fails to deliver,” note professor Grierson.

 

 

 

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Weightgain in middle-age increases risk of blindness in men

Melbourne:
Putting on weight in later life increases the risk of men developing age-related
macular degeneration (AMD), researchers in Australia have discovered.

Even
small increases in waist size seem to raise the risk of AMD by up to 75 per
cent. But women do not appear to be affected.

The
reason may be the hormone oestrogen which woman have in higher levels all their
lives.  In men abdominal fat releases
oestrogen which causes inflammation in the blood vessels behind the eyes.

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In
the Australian study, researchers at the University of Melbourne examined changes
in the waistlines of more than 21,000 men and women, aged between 40 and 69,
over several years and tracked how many went on to develop AMD.

They
concluded that the chronic inflammation caused by obesity was involved in AMD.

But
the Australian team found that for each increase of 0.1 in the waist/hip ratio,
a man’s chances of developing AMD increased by 75 per cent.

 AMD
affects older people, usually after the age of 50. The numbers affected are
likely to increase as the ageing populations increase in developed nations. The
report suggests that healthy eating earlier in life helps prevent the disease.

Nine
in ten cases involve ‘dry AMD’, which develops over several years. The rest
involve ‘wet AMD’, which can cause blindness in a matter of months.

It
is caused by the growth of new blood vessels over the macula, a small
oval-shaped area at the back of the eye that helps us pick out visual details
clearly.

Treatment
involves monthly injections into the back of the eye of drugs designed to curb
the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Given early enough, it can help to
prevent complete loss of vision.

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Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – the latest research

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AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD)

What is AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows a person to see fine detail. AMD gradually destroys the sharp, central vision, which is needed for seeing objects clearly, and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving.

AMD causes no pain and, in some cases, advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a rapid loss of vision in both eyes. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in the western world for individuals over the age of 60, and is thought to affect over three million people in the UK alone. AMD occurs in two forms: wet and dry.

Where is the macula?

The macula is located in the centre of the retina – the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The retina instantly converts light into electrical impulses, known as nerve signals, and sends them on to the brain for image interpretation.

What is dry AMD?

Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD gets worse, a person may see a blurred spot in the centre of his or her vision. Over time, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye.

The most common symptom of dry AMD is slightly blurred vision. A person may have difficulty recognising faces and may need more light for reading and other tasks. Dry AMD generally affects both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye seems unaffected. One of the most common early signs of dry AMD is ‘drusen’ in the eye, possibly combined with pigment abnormalities.

What is drusen?

Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina often found in people over age 60, and in isolation do not normally cause vision loss. In fact, scientists are unclear about the connection between drusen and AMD, but have found that an increase in the size or number of drusen raises a person’s risk of developing either advanced dry AMD or wet AMD.

An eye care professional can detect drusen during a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

What is wet AMD?

Wet AMD is another advanced stage of AMD and is generally preceded by early or intermediate dry AMD. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye, and damage to the macula occurs rapidly.

With wet AMD, loss of central vision can occur quickly.

What are the stages of AMD?

AMD has three stages, all of which may occur in one or both eyes:

1. Early AMD – people with early AMD have either several small, or a few medium-sized drusen. At this stage, there are no other symptoms and no vision loss.

2. Intermediate AMD – people with intermediate AMD have either many medium-sized or one or more large drusen. Some people see a blurred spot in the centre of their vision. More light may be needed for reading and other tasks.

3. Advanced AMD – in addition to drusen, people with advanced dry AMD or advanced wet AMD have a breakdown of light-sensitive cells and supporting tissue in the central retinal area. This breakdown can cause a blurred spot in the centre of the vision. Over time, the blurred spot may get bigger and darker, taking more of the central vision. Individuals may have difficulty reading or recognising faces until they are very close.

If a person has vision loss from dry AMD in one eye only, he or she may not notice any changes in overall vision. With the other eye seeing clearly, the individual can still drive, read and see fine details, and may notice changes in vision only if AMD affects both eyes.

Which is more common – the dry form or the wet form?

The dry form is much more common, although scientists are still not sure what causes it. More than 85 per cent of all people with intermediate and advanced AMD combined have the dry form.

However, if only advanced AMD is considered, about two-thirds of patients have the wet form. Because almost all vision loss comes from advanced AMD, the wet form leads to significantly more vision loss than the dry form.

Can the dry form turn into the wet form?

Yes. All people who have the wet form of AMD had the dry form first. Dry AMD can advance and cause vision loss without turning into the wet form of the disease. The dry form also can suddenly turn into the wet form, even during early stage AMD. There is no way to tell if or when dry will turn into wet AMD.

The dry form has early and intermediate stages. Does the wet form have similar stages?
No. The wet form is considered advanced AMD.

Can advanced AMD be either the dry form or the wet form?

Yes. Both the wet form and the advanced dry form are considered advanced AMD, and vision loss can occur with either form, although in most cases, only advanced AMD can cause vision loss. People who have advanced AMD in one eye are at especially high risk of developing advanced AMD in the other eye.

Causes and Risk Factors

Who is at risk of developing AMD?

The greatest risk factor is age. Although AMD may occur during middle age, studies show that people over age 60 are clearly at greater risk than other age groups. For instance, a large study found that middle-aged people have about a two per cent risk of developing AMD, but this risk increased to nearly 30 per cent in those over age 75.

Other risk factors include:

• Smoking – smokers have an increased risk of developing AMD

• Family History – individuals with immediate family members who have AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease

• Obesity – research studies suggest a link between obesity and the progression of early and intermediate stage AMD to advanced AMD

• Poor nutrition lacking in lutein /zeaxanthin rich diet (nutrients found in green leafy vegetables such as curly kale and egg yolk)

• Race – Caucasians seem to be more likely to lose vision from AMD than those with darker skin

• Gender – women appear to be at greater risk than men

Can a person’s lifestyle make a difference?

A person’s lifestyle can play a role in reducing the risk of developing AMD. So it’s important to remember to:

• Eat a healthy diet that’s high in fruit, fish and vegetables, specifically green leafy vegetables

• Avoid smoking

• Maintain a normal blood pressure

• Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly

Symptoms and Detection

What are the symptoms of AMD?

Dry AMD: The most common early sign for dry AMD is blurred vision. As fewer cells in the macula are able to function, people will see details such as faces or words in a book less clearly.

Often this blurred vision disappears in brighter light. If the loss of these light-sensing cells becomes great, people may see a small but growing blind spot in the middle of their field of vision.

Wet AMD: The classic early symptom for wet AMD is that straight lines appear crooked. This results when fluid from the leaking blood vessels gathers and lifts the macula, distorting vision. A small blind spot may also appear in wet AMD, resulting in loss of one’s central vision.

Neither dry nor wet AMD cause pain.

How is AMD detected?

An eye care professional may suspect AMD if the person is over age 60 and has had recent changes in central vision. AMD is detected during a comprehensive eye exam that includes a visual acuity test, dilated eye exam, and tonometry (a measurement of intraocular pressure).

An eye care professional also may perform other tests to learn more about the structure and health of the eye. For example during an eye exam, the patient may be asked to look at an Amsler grid – a grid of straight lines with a black dot in the centre. The patient will be asked to cover one eye and stare at the black dot. While staring at the dot, they may notice that the straight lines in the pattern appear wavy, and that some of the lines are missing. These may be signs of AMD.

If an eye care professional believes the patient needs treatment for wet AMD, he or she will suggest a ‘fluorescein’ and/or ‘indocyanin green angiogram’ to identify any leaking blood vessels and recommend treatment.

What does AMD mean for the patient?

For many, AMD is a shock which can be compounded by lack of information, empathy and support available. Patients are frequently told that little can be done to treat the condition, leaving them feeling both angry and depressed.

People with AMD are more likely to become depressed than the general population, and depression can increase the difficulty of adjusting to the disease (Quality of life in age-related macular degeneration – Royal Holloway University of London, 2006). Indeed, a US cross-sectional study of 151 patients living with AMD reported that the rate of depressive disorder was twice that generally found among elderly people living in the community.

Those living with AMD may lose their independence, requiring help with personal and household tasks and other aspects of daily life. Shopping, cooking and general mobility are also more difficult for people with AMD than those of a similar age with no visual impairment. An additional prospective study of AMD patients with recent (within six weeks) loss of vision to their second eye found that of the 51 participants, 33% met the criteria for clinical depression (a higher rate than 16% found in the wider community), of whom only one was receiving treatment for depression, suggesting low levels of pre-existing depression (Source: Rovner, Casten and Tasman – Effect of depression on vision function in age-related macular degeneration (Journals of Ophthalmology, 2002).

Other health problems associated with age such as arthritis and osteoporosis serve to impair quality of life still further.

Visual hallucinations, known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome, and common in those with visual impairments, can also occur with AMD. While benign and frequently short-lived, research suggests that few are warned that AMD can cause hallucinations and may not report them, featuring dementia. Such unnecessary worry may further damage quality of life.

Rehabilitation, including the provision of low vision aids and training in their use, has been proven to benefit those with AMD, improving visual function and assisting quality of life. Psycho-social interventions, such as peer support groups, also help sufferers adjust to the disease.

Treatment

How is wet AMD treated?

Wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, and injections into the eye. None of these treatments are a cure for wet AMD, and the disease and loss of vision may progress despite treatment.

1. Laser surgery – this procedure, which is performed in a doctor’s office or eye clinic, uses a laser to destroy the fragile, leaky blood vessels. A high-energy beam of light is aimed directly onto the new blood vessels and destroys them, preventing further loss of vision.

However, laser treatment may also destroy some surrounding healthy tissue and some vision. Only a small percentage of people with wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery. It is more effective if the leaky blood vessels have developed away from the fovea, the central part of the macula.

The risk of new blood vessels developing after laser treatment is high. Repeated treatments may be necessary, and in some cases, vision loss may progress despite repeated treatments.

2. Photodynamic therapy – a drug called ‘verteporfinÂ’ is injected into the arm. It travels through the body, including the new blood vessels in the eye, and tends to “stick” to the surface of the new vessels.

Next, a light which activates the drug is beamed into the eye for around 90 seconds, which destroys the new blood vessels and leads to a slower rate of vision decline. Unlike laser surgery, this drug does not destroy surrounding healthy tissue. Because the drug is activated by light, the patient must avoid exposing skin or eyes to direct sunlight or bright indoor light for five days after treatment.

Photodynamic therapy slows the rate of vision loss, but does not stop it or restore vision in eyes already damaged by advanced AMD. Treatment results often are temporary and a person may need to be treated again. Photodynamic therapy is relatively painless, takes about 20 minutes and is normally performed in a dedicated hospital clinic.

3. Injections – wet AMD can now be treated with new drugs that are injected into the eye (anti-VEGF or anti-angiogenic therapy). Abnormally high levels of a specific growth factor occur in eyes with wet AMD and promote the growth of abnormal new blood vessels. This drug treatment blocks the effects of the growth factor.

A person will need multiple injections that may be given as often as every month. The eye is numbed before each injection, and the patient may need to remain in hospital for a period of time after each session for monitoring. This drug treatment can help slow down vision loss from AMD and in some cases improve sight.

How is dry AMD treated?

Once dry AMD reaches the advanced stage, no form of treatment can prevent vision loss. However, intake of certain antioxidant vitamins and zinc can delay and possibly prevent intermediate AMD from progressing to the advanced stage, in which vision loss occurs.

The US National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that taking Bausch & Lomb’s PreserVision, a high-potency nutritional supplement containing antioxidants and zinc, significantly reduces the risk of advanced AMD and its associated vision loss. Slowing AMD’s progression from the intermediate stage to the advanced stage will save the vision of many people.

Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)

What is the dosage of the AREDS formulation?

The specific quantities of antioxidants and zinc used by the AREDS researchers were 500 milligrams of vitamin C; 400 International Units of vitamin E; 15 milligrams of beta-carotene (often labelled as equivalent to 25,000 International Units of vitamin A); 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide; and two milligrams of copper as cupric oxide. Copper was added to the AREDS formulation containing zinc to prevent copper deficiency anaemia, a condition associated with high levels of zinc intake.

Bausch & Lomb’s PreserVision Original formulation, which was proven safe and effective by the AREDS study, is available in soft gel and tablet forms. The new PreserVision Lutein soft gels replace beta-carotene with lutein and are suitable for smokers.

Who should take the AREDS formulation?

People who are at high risk for developing advanced AMD should consider taking the formulation in consultations with their health care provider or personal physician. A person is at high risk of developing advanced AMD if he or she has either:

1. Intermediate AMD in one or both eyes.
-OR-
2. Advanced AMD (dry or wet) in one eye, but not the other.

The AREDS formulation is not a cure for AMD, nor will it restore vision already lost from the disease. However, it may delay the onset of advanced AMD. It may also help people who are at high risk of developing advanced AMD keep their vision.

Can diet alone provide the same high levels of antioxidants and zinc as the AREDS formulation?

No. High levels of vitamins and minerals are difficult to achieve from diet alone. However, previous studies have suggested that people who have diets rich in fruit, fish and vegetables, specifically, green leafy vegetables, have a lower risk of developing AMD.

Can a daily multi-vitamin alone provide the same high levels of antioxidants and zinc as the AREDS formulation?

No. The formulation’s levels of antioxidants and zinc are considerably higher than the amounts in any daily multi-vitamin. If a person is already taking daily multi-vitamins and his or her doctor suggests taking the high-dose AREDS formulation, it is recommended that the individual review all vitamin supplements with his or her doctor prior to taking the AREDS formulation.

Because multi-vitamins contain many important vitamins not found in the AREDS formulation, a person may wish to take a multi-vitamin along with the AREDS formulation. For example, people with osteoporosis need to be particularly concerned about taking vitamin D, which is not in the AREDS formulation.

How can a person take care of his or her vision once diagnosed with AMD?
If a person has dry AMD, he or she should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. An eye care professional can monitor his or her condition and check for other eye diseases. Also, if a person has intermediate AMD in one or both eyes, or advanced AMD in one eye only, the doctor may suggest that the individual take the AREDS formulation containing the high levels of antioxidants and zinc.

Because dry AMD can turn into wet AMD at any time, a person should obtain an Amsler grid from their eye care professional. It is recommended that the individual use the grid every day to evaluate his or her vision for signs of wet AMD. This quick test works best for people who still have good central vision. If a person detects any changes in the appearance of this grid or in his or her everyday vision while reading the newspaper or watching television, he or she needs a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

If a person has wet AMD, a doctor would normally advise immediate treatment. After laser surgery or photodynamic therapy or anti-VEGF anti-angiogenic therapy, a person will need frequent eye exams to detect any recurrence of leaking blood vessels.

Studies show that people who smoke have a greater risk of recurrence than those who don’t. In addition, a person should check his or her vision daily at home using the Amsler grid and will need to schedule an eye exam immediately if any changes are detected.

What can a person do if he or she has already lost some vision from AMD?
If a person has lost some sight from AMD, he or she should not be afraid to use his or her eyes for reading, watching TV, and other routine activities. Normal eye use will not cause further vision damage. These individuals should also ask their eye care professional about low-vision services and devices that may help make the most of their remaining vision.

Many community organisations and agencies offer information about low-vision counselling, training, and other special services for people with visual impairments. Macular Disease Society is of particular value to many existing AMD sufferers. The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) also provides support and services for those experiencing vision difficulties and loss.

Current Research

What AMD research is currently being conducted?
Research is conducted globally to help provide better ways to detect, treat, and prevent vision loss through AMD. Currently, scientists are:

• Studying the possibility of transplanting healthy cells into a diseased retina – a London-based project to cure AMD has recently been launched, following ÂŁ4 million donation from an anonymous American donor. This will involve a study where patients will be treated for dry AMD with injections of Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) into the eye. The RPE itself has been developed under laboratory conditions from embryonic stem cells. The study is likely to take at least five years to complete, and will be undertaken by Moorfields Eye Hospital in conjunction with the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and the University of Sheffield

• Evaluating families with a history of AMD to understand genetic and hereditary factors that may cause the disease

• Looking at certain anti-inflammatory treatments for the wet form of AMD
• AREDS II further examining the role of vitamins, lutein, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc

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Omega 3 fatty acids keep eyes younger

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London: Increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and fish oil, could help to reduce progression of a serious eye disease that causes blindness in older people, reveals research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Commenting on the study, Dr Ruxton, an independent advisor to the Health Supplements Information Service, notes: “The researchers based their findings on nearly 3,000 people, all of whom were taking part in a supplements trial called the Age Related Eye Disease Study. Participants were randomly allocated to receive either a daily placebo pill or one of three active pills namely: (1) antioxidant vitamins C (500 mg), E (268 mg) plus beta carotene (15 mg); or (2) minerals zinc (80 mg) and copper (2 mg); or (3) antioxidants plus zinc.

“Participants were also quizzed about their diets, using a validated food frequency questionnaire, and were periodically given general physical and eye exams. Detailed photographs of the macula (area at the back of the eye) were taken at the start of the study, after two years, and then again annually until eight years. The trial participants were monitored during this time for the development of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

“An earlier publication showed that the antioxidants plus zinc supplement significantly reduced the risk of ARMD. The current study showed that people in the placebo group had a 25% lower risk of developing ARMD if their intake of omega 3 fatty acids from fish was high.

“These findings agree with two other studies from 2009 which also found that omega-three fatty acids were linked with reduced risk of ARMD. An Australian meta-analysis also concluded that consumption of omega 3 fatty acids appeared to be protective against ARMD development.

“Consumption of omega 3 fatty acids in the UK is significantly lower than recommendations. The Food Standards Agency suggests that adults consume two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily. This equates to 450mg omega 3 fatty acids per day. Among people in Britain who do eat oily fish – less than a third of the population – the average daily intake of omega 3 fatty acids is only 270mg. Amongst those who never eat oily fish, the average daily omega 3 intake is a dismal 147mg . In the context of these low intakes and the increasing evidence that omega 3s seem to lower the risk of ARMD, a supplement containing omega 3 fatty acids could make a useful contribution to eye care.”

Note: ARMD is a progressive degenerative condition, which affects the back of the eye (macula). It robs people of the capacity to see fine detail, and eventually blinds them. In the UK, an estimated 200,000 people have visual loss due to AMD. This number will increase as the population ages. It is estimated there will be 239,000 people visually impaired due to AMD in the UK by 2011. Over half of 33,000 people certified as blind or partially sighted in 1999/2000 were affected by AMD.

[1] Chiu C-J, Klein R, Milton RC, Gensler G, Taylor A. Does eating particular diets alter the risk of age related macular degeneration in users of Age-Related Eye Disease Study Supplements? Br J Ophthalmol 2009, doi: 10.1136/bjo.2008.143412

[2] Chong EW et al. Dietary omega-3 fatty acid and fish intake in the primary prevention of age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 Jun;126(6):826-33

[3] Mason P. Towards a healthier Britain. The Potential Role of Food Supplements in Government Food Policy. Available from HSIS.

[4] Bunce C, Wormald R. Leading causes of certification for blindness and partial sight in England & Wales. BMC Public Health 2006;6(1):58

[5] Owen CG, Fletcher AE, Donoghue M, Rudnicka AR. How big is the burden of visual loss caused by age-related macular degeneration in the UK? Br.J.Ophthalmol. 2003;87:312-7

[6] Bunce C, Wormald R. Leading causes of certification for blindness and partial sight in England & Wales. BMC Public Health 2006;6(1):58

Eurocanarias OftalmolĂłgica (eye health), Las Palmas Gran Canaria

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Eurocanarias OftalmolĂłgica
Calle LeĂłn y Castillo 211
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
T: + 34 928 49 10 90
www.eurocanariasoftalmologica.com

15% discount

Eurocanarias OftalmolĂłgica is a company devoted to eye surgery and ophthalmic treatments, and has been at the cutting edge of ophthalmology for almost 20 years. Facilities here are state-of-the-art.

Eurocanarias OftalmolĂłgica provides a complete ophthalmology service that covers all of the areas of this speciality, thereby offering on Las Palmas de Gran Canaria a service that matches that of any other leading international ophthalmology centre.

Services

The company offers a full range of eye procedures and treatments makes use of the latest technology and equipment to diagnose and treat eye problems as well the services of ten prominent ophthalmologists

Eurocanarias OftalmolĂłgica is a company devoted to Eye Medicine and Surgery. This clinic has been on the cutting edge of national ophthalmology for almost 20 years.

Eurocanarias OftalmolĂłgica provides a complete ophthalmology service that covers all of the areas of this speciality, thereby offering on Las Palmas de Gran Canaria a service that matches that of any other leading international ophthalmology centre. To do so, the company makes use of the latest technology to diagnose and treat eye problems as well as a provider directory that includes ten prominent ophthalmologists.

Treatments offered include a range of the latest medical interventions for eye health including laser surgery from Myopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism and other surgical interventions for cataracts and glaucoma as well as contact lenses.

Ageing eyes may get protection from antioxidants

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London: Eating foods rich in antioxidants may protect ageing eyes from degeneration, according to new research.

Scientists have found a link between two processes in the retina that, in combination, contribute to a disease called macular degeneration.

They found antioxidants disrupt the link and extend the lifetime of irreplaceable photoreceptors and other retinal cells.

“The implication is that people at risk of macular degeneration could help prevent the disease by consuming antioxidants,” said Heidi Vollmer-Snarr, a Brigham Young University chemist who earned a doctorate from Oxford and began work on this disease as a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia.

People struck with the disease first lose central vision and temporarily adjust by relying more on peripheral vision. Some eventually lose their vision entirely.

The study found a destructive synergy between the build-up of a compound called A2E and damage to cellular ‘power plants’ called mitochondria. A2E is a natural byproduct of cellular activity that, unlike other compounds, won’t break down or be disposed by the body.

A problem occurs when A2E encounters oxidative stress created by light exposure. In these circumstances, A2E disrupts energy production in mitochondria.

The resulting energy shortage pulls the plug on daily cleaning and maintenance of photoreceptors and another type of retinal cell.

The result is more A2E buildup, and the cycle of destruction hastens the death of these vital visual cells, which are not replaced when they die.

The experiments performed with visual cells from rats, cows and humans showed that antioxidants could completely counter the damage.

Seeing this process play out in the retina has given Vollmer-Snarr a novel idea for attacking harmful growths in the body.

The strategy would involve delivering potentially disruptive compounds like A2E to the target and then using light to trigger the damage.

The study appears online and is published in an issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Vision & Hearing Loss

Age-related eye diseases — macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma — affect millions of people aged over 40. But the numbers are shooting up as we live longer.

Foods containing high levels of antioxidants are thought to be helpful in reducing vision loss, and these should be taken before the age of 40.

Deterioration accelerates in smokers.Regular eye exams should include screening for glaucoma.

The incidence of hearing loss increases with age. Twenty-nine percent of those with hearing loss are 45-65; 43% of those with hearing loss are 65 or older.

Hearing loss takes a toll on the quality of life and can lead to depression and withdrawal from social activities. Although hearing aids can help, only one out of four people use them.

High-frequency hearing loss is common in old age and made worse by a lifestyle that includes exposure to loud sounds whether its a concert or from Walkmans, iPods etc.

Eye health indicates body health

Harvard: Deteriorating eyesight in older people is accelerated by a poor diet, smoking and being overweight, say doctors at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of vision loss in developed countries. In the US some 13 million people in show some signs of AMD, which is uncommon in people younger than 55. The health of eyes are also an indicator of the body’s general health.

This new study shows that diet, smoking, and BMI (body mass index) may affect the chances of getting AMD.

Johanna Seddon, MD, one of the researchers and his colleagues studies 934 people who were on average 67 to 71 years old. Half of the participants were screened at a Boston eye and ear clinic. The others were screened at an eye clinic in Portland, Ore.

A total of 184 participants didnÂ’t have AMD. The rest had mild AMD (201 patients), moderate AMD (326 patients), or advanced AMD (223 patients).

Participants completed surveys about their diet and lifestyle. They also gave blood samples, which SeddonÂ’s team checked for levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and homocysteine, which have been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

The researchers had previously reported that CRP and homocysteine are associated with age-related macular degeneration. This time, they checked how diet and lifestyle affected levels of CRP and homocysteine, as well as AMD risk.

None of the participants were asked to change their diets or lifestyles. The researchers just looked for patterns among the participantsÂ’ habits, blood chemicals, and AMD diagnosis.

Eye-Opening Data

The researchers found that people who smoked, were overweight, and consumed fewer antioxidants (natural chemicals found in many fruits and vegetables) tended to have higher levels of CRP and homocysteine.

For instance, people who reported eating fish more than twice per week had lower CRP levels. This was also true for people who consumed higher levels of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

CRP levels were higher for people who smoked or had higher BMI, the study also shows.

Lower homocysteine levels were seen in people with more vitamin E in their blood and those who consumed more antioxidants and vitamin B-6. But higher blood levels of vitamin E were also tied to higher CRP levels. That contradiction should be studied further, note Seddon and colleagues.

Seddon commented: “Overall, these findings suggest that sick eyes may occur in sick bodies related to smoking, being overweight, and other unhealthy behaviors,” they write.

“AMD is associated with immune, inflammatory, and other cardiovascular mechanisms, and these results emphasize the need to adhere to healthy lifestyles for your eyes and your body overall.”