1. WHAT IS AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION AND WHO GETS IT?
Age related macular degeneration is the loss of central eye sight due to degeneration of the macular cells in the retina. The macula is the central part of the retina that lets you see to read, sew or drive yor car.
It usually occurs in people over 50 years of age. One in six over the age of sixty show signs of macualr degeneration. By the age of 80, 50% of the people will have some age related degeneration. There are 17,000 new cases each year.
2. WHY DO WE GET AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION?
Most doctors will tell you that we do not know. However the our research indicates the aging changes of your body and your diet stop the essential nutrients from reaching the cells of the macula.
As we get older, we eat less of different kinds of food, but we eat more of the few things we like, thus limiting our diet. Also, as the gastrointestinal tract ages it becomes less efficient in picking up all the nutrients in our food. These nutrients are needed to keep our macula healthy. With aging, our blood vessels harden and thicken making it more difficult to pick up the nutrients from the GI tract and letting them go in the macula cells. Without the proper nutrients the cells of the macula cannot live. These nutrients are necessary to make all the enzymes that are used in exchange of light energy (photons) to electrical energy (electrons). The metabolism of each macular cell and thus it"s life, is dependent on these nutrients amd enzymes.
3. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION?
a) blurred sight to read, sew, drive a car!
b) difficulty seeing at night, this is especially noticeable with night driving!
c) difficulty seeing when you enter a dark room after being out in the sunlight! This is most noticeable when going into a movie.
d) distorted parallel lines as in grids, tlelphone poles or door jams.
e) a prolonged afterimage from a flash of a camera that lasts several minutes. There are specific tests your doctor can do to detect the above symptoms; these tests include visul acuity, contrast sensitivity, photo stress test, and Amsler grid test.
4. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I GET AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION?
In the very beginning you do not even know anything is going wrong. This is because the onset of ARMD is so slow that you do not notice the change in your eye sight. You gradually lose your central sight. You will first notice difficulty with reading, sewing or driving the car. At the earliest stages your eye examination may appear normal to the doctor, except that he cannot mske you see 20/20 with new glasses. the best that can be done will be a line or two less than could be done at your last eye exam. Untreated ARMD eventually advances to the point where all reading, sewing or driving the car is impossible. The center of your sight ends up with a large black hole. When you look at something you can see the outer edges, but the center is gone. This is the result of gradual loss of function and then death of the macular cells of the retina. These cells die due to the lack of specific nutrients.
5. WHAT IS AN ANTIOXIDANT?
An antioxidant is a element, molecule, protein, enzyme, vitamin or mineral that protects the cells from the oxidants. The antioxidant may do this in many different ways. It may combine with it to tie up its negative charge. Or, the antioxidant may take more than one oxidant and combine it with it self to make the oxidant a useful part of the peroxidation process. When this recycling of the oxidants is done, there is useful oxygen present within the cell. This makes the cell metabolism need less oxygen from the blood. This recycling of the oxidants gives a cleaner burning cell with less garbage.