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Macular Degeneration

The macula or macula lutea (from Latin macula, "spot" + lutea, "yellow") is a highly pigmented yellow spot near the center of the retina of the human eye, providing the clearest, most distinct vision needed in reading, driving, seeing fine detail, and recognizing facial features.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a devastating condition characterized by the deterioration of the macula in which central vision becomes severely impaired. There are two forms of macular degeneration: atrophic (dry) and neovascular (wet). Both forms of the disease may affect both eyes simultaneously.

Age-related declines in the retinal carotenoid pigment content, coupled with photo damage induced by harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays, give rise to this debilitating condition. The progression and severity of macular degeneration, as with all age-related diseases, are exacerbated by factors such as oxidative stress, inflammation, high blood sugar, and poor vascular health.

Scientifically studied natural compounds which help restore waning carotenoid levels within the macula, boost the antioxidant defenses of the eye, and support healthy circulation offer an effective adjunct to conventional treatment that may greatly improve the outlook for those with AMD.

This protocol will explore the pathology, weigh the risks and benefits of conventional treatment, and reveal exciting new scientific findings on innovative natural approaches for ameliorating the effects of AMD.

Prevalence

AMD is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment and blindness among North Americans and Europeans 60 and older. According to the National Institute of Health, more Americans are affected by AMD than cataracts and glaucoma combined. The eye-health organization Macular Degeneration Partnership estimates that as many as 15 million Americans currently exhibit evidence of macular degeneration (www.amd.org).

Approximately 85-90 percent of AMD cases are the dry form. Wet AMD, which represents only 10-15 percent of AMD cases, is responsible for more than 80 percent of blindness. AMD is equally common in men and women, and has a heritable nature (Klein 2011; Haddad 2006). A positive development is that the estimated prevalence of AMD in Americans 40 and older has decreased from 9.4% in the years 1988-1994 to 6.5% in the years 2005-2008 (Klein 2011).