Keep an eye on your vision

The eye is a fascinating organ which has to deal with highly complicated tasks every single day. We notice this in particular as we grow older; our vision deteriorates and eye diseases can develop. AMD – age-related macular degeneration – is now an exceptionally widespread disease. It is the most frequent cause of serious vision problems in Germany, accounting for 50% of all cases.

What does AMD mean?

AMD stands for age-related macular degeneration. The macula – also known as the ‘yellow spot’ – is a highly specialised area on the retina that is responsible for focused vision. When a person approaches old age, deposits (called ‘drusen’) can form under the retina and particularly in the vicinity of the macula, which can impair their vision.

What are the symptoms of AMD?

The condition frequently develops without any symptoms. It is usually first noticed while reading, when a blurred spot suddenly appears in the middle of the typeface. To begin with, only a few letters are blocked out, but the spot increases in size over the course of time. In later stages of the disease, in advanced AMD, even facial features cannot be seen. Outlines are still visible, but the middle of the object in the visual field can no longer be viewed in focus.

A typical symptom of advanced AMD: the black spot in the visual field.

Micronutrients as support for AMD

Scientific studies have shown that supplementing your daily diet with certain micronutrients can influence the development of advanced AMD. Antioxidant vitamins, the trace element zinc and also lutein and zeaxanthin can be particularly important here. These nutrients can be ingested through food.

  • Vitamins are organic compounds that are required by the body for vital functions. For instance, vitamin C and vitamin E work as a team in many of the body’s processes. Wheatgerm oil is a very good source of vitamin E, and vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly in citrus fruits and berries. Vitamins C and E as well as zinc and copper contribute to protection of the cells against oxidative stress.

  • Phytonutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin are responsible for the yellow colour of the macula. The level of these phytonutrients in the macula and retina is a thousand times higher than in the blood, for example, and they play a significant role in the structure of the macula. Large quantities of lutein and zeaxanthin are found in spinach, curly kale and sweetcorn, and also in egg yolk.

  • Minerals and trace elements are essential for vision. Zinc, for example, is a trace element that is important for the visual process and contributes to the maintenance of normal vision. Oysters contain a large amount of zinc, for instance.

Tips for AMD

A balanced diet ensures a good supply of micronutrients, which also benefits your eyes. You should make sure that you eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables, and particularly foods that are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin such as carrots, sweetcorn, apricots and spinach.

Periods of rest will soothe and relax your eyes. Simply place the palms of your hands over your eyes, curving your hands away from your eyes without applying any pressure. Looking at things close up all the time also strains the eyes, so let your gaze drift into the distance from time to time.

Specifically in the summer, but also in the winter, you should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.

It is also possible to supplement medical therapy for advanced AMD with dietary management using Orthomol AMD extra as a food for special medical purposes.