Macular Degeneration (cont.)
Are There Home Remedies for Macular Degeneration?
There are no home remedies available currently for AMD, however, there are steps one can take at home to minimize progression of AMD:
- Supplements: In a landmark national study conducted by the National Eye Institute, people with moderate and advanced age-related macular degeneration were shown to significantly benefit by taking a dietary supplement containing certain vitamins and minerals. The supplement is known as the AREDS2 formula and is available over the counter. It slowed progression of disease in many cases. Unfortunately (and somewhat surprisingly), the same supplement did not prove to be of benefit in preventing progression in those who had mild AMD, nor did it have any significant effect on the development of AMD in people who started out with no disease. The definition of mild, moderate, and advanced disease was based on the retinal findings (for example, size of drusen) and other factors. An eye doctor will tell you if AREDS2 vitamins would be of any benefit.
- The AREDS2 supplement currently recommended contains:
- 500 milligrams of vitamin C
- 400 international units of vitamin E
- 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide
- 2 milligrams of copper as cupric oxide
- 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin
- No beta-carotene (vitamin A)
- Diet: Though the AREDS2 supplements were not found to be helpful for all AMD patients, several studies have shown a clear association between the severity of AMD and diet. Diets high in vegetables, fruits, and omega-3-rich foods and low in sugar are associated with less progression and severity of AMD.
- Smoking cessation is important for everyone with AMD. Smoking accelerates the progression of vision loss in AMD. In addition, smoking can worsen other eye conditions, including dry eye cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help maintain good cardiovascular health, which is important as many studies have demonstrated an association between poor cardiovascular health and more advanced forms of AMD.
- Your eye doctor will instruct you to monitor your vision at home with an Amsler grid.
- To use the Amsler grid:
- If you use corrective lenses (bifocals, contact lenses) for reading, wear them for the test.
- Hold the grid 12 to 15 inches away in good light.
- Cover one eye.
- While looking directly at the center dot with the uncovered eye, note whether all lines of the grid around the dot appear straight.
- Note any areas in which the lines appear wavy, distorted, bent, blurry, or dark.
- Repeat this procedure with the other eye.
- If any area of the grid appears wavy, distorted, bent, blurry or dark, contact your ophthalmologist. This could be a sign of worsening AMD, and prompt evaluation is important as earlier treatment has higher chance of success.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/15/2016
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