Low Glycemic Diet for AMD

May 21, 2017

Researchers find that switching from a high to a low-glycemic diet may stop age-related eye disease by arresting damage to the retina.

A recent study has shown that the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be slowed by transitioning from a high-glycemic diet to one that is low-glycemic (mouse model). As an example, swapping out white bread for whole grain bread. High-glycemic foods spur the rapid release of sugar into the bloodstream compared to low-glycemic foods. The study was performed by academicians at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center. Results of the study were recently published in PNAS.

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Best Eye Drops for Macular Degeneration

May 12, 2017

Soon, a drop a day might help to keep vision loss at bay. Scientists have said that they may finally have found a treatment that is actually effective for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the number one cause of blindness in the elderly. Best of all, it could be provided in eye drops.

AMD cannot be cured, and there is no truly effective form of treatment either. Ninety percent of people with AMD have ‘dry’ AMD, which is a slowly progressing form of the condition. Wet AMD is different in that it is very rare and progresses very quickly. It is now hoped that the drops will help to provide a real treatment for dry AMD.

The Research

Some 2 million people in this country are currently diagnosed with AMD, according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A number of studies have taken part in AMD and possible treatment options, with the most famous one being the AREDS (age-related eye disease study) and AREDS 2, which determined that specific supplementation may help slow down the progression of AMD.

Wet AMD, by contrast, requires injections in the eye twice a month. This stops new blood vessels from forming. In most cases, people are injected with Avastin, which is a bevacizumab cancer drug.

The latest research was completed by Tufts University in Massachusetts, under the guidance of Rajendra Kumar-Singh, associate professor of ophthalmology. The work is classed as a ‘proof of concept’ study and was completed on mice. They found that the PPADS (pyridoxalphosphate-6-azophenyl-2′,4′-disolfunic acid) is able to repair damage to the eye caused by AMD.

The mice were first anesthetized, after which tissue damage was induced, as was blood vessel growth. PPADS was then applied every day. From there, researchers observed the eye damage heal over time. According to Kumar-Singh, human trials have not yet commenced. When they do, however, a refined form of PPADS would be used.

It is a known fact that AMD is caused, in part, due to high levels of MAC (membrane attack complex). MAC is a normal part of our immune system, which forms when bacteria invade the system. However, if someone has AMD, MAC targets retina cells as well, leading to loss of vision. PPADS is believed to interfere with MAC, as well as with the growth of new blood vessels. The latter is significant for wet AMD.

It is the first time that there has been any suggestion of a possible cure or even treatment for AMD that is truly effective and that can be applied topically. This means it doesn’t have to be injected or ingested to be effective. Other scientists have expressed to be very intrigued by the results, particularly because it is based on solid scientific evidence.

The study is now available for peer review, as it has been published in an open sourced journal through a non-profit organization. This adds further credence to the validity of both the study and the results. The authors have encouraged people to look into it and to review the findings. They hope that, eventually, an eye drop can be developed that can be self-administered by patients.

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Treatments can slow macular degeneration

April 29, 2017

The macula is small, but mighty.

With a diameter less than a quarter of an inch, it is the part of the retina responsible for the sharp, central vision that allows us to read and see colors. It’s the kind of thing that goes unnoticed until it’s gone.

“Some people don’t realize they are only seeing out of one eye,” said Tupelo retina specialist Dr. Heather Hancock.

Age-related macular degeneration affects 11 million Americans. It can leave holes in the central vision, making it difficult to read and see faces. Peripheral vision remains intact even at the most severe stages.

It has a strong genetic component.

Macular degeneration is still considered incurable, but advances in treatment are allowing physicians to slow the progression of the disease, especially with the most devastating form of macular degeneration, Hancock said.

Age-related macular degeneration comes in two forms. Dry macular degeneration typically progresses very slowly. It develops because the macula becomes thinner and worn.

There is no direct therapy for dry macular degeneration. Physicians typically recommend a diet rich in antioxidants and supplements that support eye health, along with regular follow up to watch for changes, Hancock said.

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Early Detection of Macular Degeneration

April 29, 2017

Doctors may be failing to catch the earliest signs of a major cause of blindness.

The issue is – if it’s caught very early, age-related macular degeneration can be treated, and vision preserved.

If not, it’s much harder to slow down.

And a new study suggests many doctors may be missing the early signs.

A team at the University of Alabama-Birmingham used advanced digital photography to look at the eyes of 13-hundred older people who had normal vision on a standard exam.

They found that 1 in 4 of those people actually had degeneration in their retinas.

In many cases, it was early enough that the problem could be reversed by diet, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle.

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7 foods and supplements that can help improve your eyesight

April 11, 2017

While we all know eating carrots won’t magically give us 20-20 vision, can what we eat affect our eyesight?

It turns out, eye health is crucially linked to diet — consuming certain essential nutrients can stave off eye disease and age-related degeneration. Fox News spoke to Dr. Andrea Thau, president of the American Optometric Association, and Lauren Blake, a dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, to get their tips on the best foods to eat for optimum eye health:

  1. Leafy Greens
  2. Salmon
  3. Sweet Potatoes
  4. Chick Peas
  5. Bell Peppers
  6. Almonds
  7. Vitamin Supplements

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Vertical Reading to Aid Macular Degeneration

February 24, 2017

Individuals with macular degeneration often develop a Preferred Retinal Locus (PRL) used in place of the impaired fovea. It is known that many people adopt a PRL left of the scotoma, which is likely to affect reading by occluding text to the right of fixation. For such individuals, we examined the possibility that reading vertical text, in which words are rotated 90° with respect to the normal horizontal orientation, would be beneficial for reading. Vertically oriented words would be tangential to the scotoma instead of being partially occluded by it.

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Early Detection of Macular Degeneration

February 22, 2017

Dr. William Hart at Hart Eye Center in Lake Charles spends his days looking at patients’ eyes. One of the conditions he treats the most is macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease with both aging and genetic factors.

“That tiny spot that receives the light most clearly because of the way the retina is structured is called the macula,” explained Dr. Hart.  “Because of the anatomy of the macula, it’s vulnerable to vascular disease or degeneration of the macula.”

That can be seen most clearly through OCT or Optical Coherence Tomography, using infrared light waves to take cross-section pictures of your retina.

“It’s a laser scanner essentially,” said Dr. Hart. “The patient puts their head up against the instrument and the technician then can center the patient’s eyes onto the machine and then hits the process to start. The scanning begins and the images produced.”

Dr. Hart dais what makes this technology so incredible is the power to see through the retina, which is like a window to the body’s blood vessels and undiagnosed vascular diseases.

“This allows us to look at the person’s retina if we’re starting to be even mildly suspicious and look at the blood vessel structure under the retina,” he said.

If a problem is detected, special vitamins can be prescribed, along with other therapies.

“We increase therapy or even use in some cases laser or injections of medicine that will stop the new blood vessel growth,” said Dr. Hart.

The biggest warning sign of macular degeneration is blurred vision. If left untreated, central vision loss typically occurs within 15 years. It is something that can be slowed with monitoring and treatment.

Macular degeneration generally begins in people between the ages of 55 and 65. It is important to have routine eye exams as you age, to stay on top of any vision changes.

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