Treatment of Macular Degeneration

January 21, 2013

A review published in International Journal of Ophthalmology suggests that micronutrients including vitamin C, E, zinc, β-carotene and dietary supplements like lutein and zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil can help prevent age related macular degeneration (AMD) in some men and women.

Tariq Aslama from University of Manchester in Manchester, UK and colleagues report in their review that evidence from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) is strong to indicate that vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and β-carotene are effective in slowing the rate of deterioration of stage 3 o 4 AMD to a late stage of the illness during a 5-year follow-up.

However, these micronutrients were found effective in preventing the progression of the early AMD to  neovascular AMD (advanced form of AMD), but not to atrophic AMD, the authors note.

Smokers need to know that “high β-carotene intakes are contraindicated for smokers due to a potential increased risk for lung cancer,” as the authors note.

In addition,  using aspirin for at least 10 years was associated with a small but statistical increase in the development of late AMD, according to results from a new study published in the December 19 issue of JAMA.

For more info, consult with your ophthalmologist.


Study Shows Zeaxanthin Improves Vision in Elderly

November 15, 2011

The Zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan-thin) and Visual Function Study (ZVF), conducted by eye nutrition pioneer Stuart Richer, PhD, OD at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Chicago, shows scientific evidence that dietary Zeaxanthin improved vision in night driving and fine detail, among others.
The ZVF Study followed 60 elderly veterans with early Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) over a 12-month period that consumed 8 mg of dietary Zeaxanthin daily, showed improvement in the ability to drive at night, recognition of fine detail – an average improvement of 1.5 lines or 8.5 letters on an eye chart, and the disappearance of blind spots.

Read more:

Diet affects eye disease progression

July 11, 2011

A study of U.S. twins finds diet can significantly influence the course of the eye disease macular degeneration, researchers say;  the study involved identical twin pairs in which one twin had early age-related macular degeneration and the other had late stage age-related macular degeneration.

By examining identical twins who share the same genes but whose disease was at different stages, the researchers say they were able to identify environmental and behavioral factors that may contribute to severity of the disease.

The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, found that twins whose macular degeneration was at the early stages tended to consume more vitamin D from dietary sources such as fish or milk than their twin.

Seddon says vitamin D may reduce the risk of macular degeneration because of its anti-inflammatory properties or it may block the formation of new blood vessels that can grow under the macula, leaking blood and causing vision loss during the more severe stages of the disease.  Eating a diet high in vitamin D, as well as the nutrients betaine and methionine, might help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

In addition, the study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, found the twin who was the heavier smoker tended to have the more severe case of macular degeneration.

Read more:

What’s Good for the Heart is Good for the Eyes

June 6, 2011

The following article was posted by Lauren Tappan. It was written by Maurie Hill for the Zoomed In blog.

Picture of Maurie's garden with a highlight on her spinach plantsAt the Foundation Fighting Blindness™ conferences that I’ve attended so far, there are always inquiries about diet and dietary supplements and their connection with different eye conditions.  The common response is “what’s good for the heart is good for the eyes.”  As simplistic as that sounds, it’s actually an excellent answer, especially when speaking to groups of people who have a wide range of eye conditions.

Not only have we become so far removed from the food chain, but we are also constantly bombarded with so many fad diets and suspicious sounding claims.  This unfortunately leads to people not taking the advice above to heart (pardon the pun).  I heard someone the other day pick up a bag of candy in a store and brag to a friend that it’s fat free.  Does that mean my vision will improve if I eat candy corn instead of avocados?  And yes, I’m hoping that sounds ridiculous to you.

Last year my relationship to food and what I eat was completely transformed after reading “The China Study” followed by “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”.  I was stunned by the relationship certain foods have with many different diseases, even those not commonly attributed to diet.  It shouldn’t be so surprising that we are what we eat.  Would a car be as efficient, long-lasting, and repair-free when running on fuel it was not designed for?  The food we were designed and born to eat is the kind that will fuel the human body beautifully.

Then there is the question of dietary supplementation and eye disease.  This is where you better be confident of your diagnosis as I discussed in Knowledge is Power because what’s happening at the molecular level will impact your dietary choices.  Take Vitamin A for example, which is metabolically processed in the visual cycle to help provide light to the retina.   At my visit to Dr. Rafael C. Caruso at the National Eye Institute in 2009, I learned that Vitamin A may actually be a bad thing for those of us with Stargardt Disease.  Because we are not able to synthesize it well, it can leave an excess of pigmented waste deposits, causing poor vision.  Conversely, Vitamin A is widely considered to be beneficial for those with Retinitis Pigmentosa.

All I know for sure is that I’m watching and waiting for my home grown vegetables to start popping out of the garden.  I’ve got a menu depending on it:  zucchini soup with Thai red pepper, roasted veggies, avocado on whole wheat toast, and lots and lots of chili.  And sprinkled with a little old-fashioned exercise, it’s good for my heart, helps me sleep and definitely makes me feel better.  Even if it doesn’t improve my vision, it gives me enough energy to face my visually challenging day.  And on a less selfish note, I’m aiming to minimize my burden on our expensive health care system.  But for right now, I deserve just a tiny chocolate treat after all this typing.  Nobody’s perfect all the time – what’s the fun in that?

Preserving your Vision at the People’s Pharmacy

May 14, 2011

Dr. Robert Abel, Ophthalmologist, was the guest on the People’s Pharmacy on Staurday, May 14, 2011. It was Show # 813, Preserving Your Vision.

Most of us take our vision for granted until it starts to give us trouble. Dry eyes can be a consequence of too much time in front of a screen. Are there other lifestyle factors putting us at risk for vision problems?

Cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration are major causes of vision loss. What can we do to prevent their development?

Guest: Robert Abel, Jr., MD, is an ophthalmologist with Delaware Ophthalmology Consultants. His books include The Eye Care Revolution and The DHA Story and most recently the novel Lethal Hindsight. His website is

He gave excellent advice on Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, eye nutrition and Cataracts.

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. Podcasts can be downloaded for free for six weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Treatments for Night Blindness

January 13, 2011

Night Blindness is a condition of inability to see in dim light, also known asnyctalopia. It is apparently caused by other conditions of the eye. These can include:

  • Vitamin A deficiency, treatable with supplements and dietary adjustments.
  • Near-sightedness or myopiaA new eyeglass lens presciption can relieve the problem.
  • The effects of glaucoma medications – Ask your doctor about your medications and whether they should be changed.
  • Cataracts – The clouding of the lens inside of the eye. This not a growth over the outside of the eye, as some legends tell. Some cataracts can be treated by surgical removal and replacement with an opitcal lens – an aunt of mine had this successfully performed in the late 1970s and surgical techniques have improved quite a lot since then. It’s even doen on an outpatient basis now.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa – Affecting close to 100,000 people in the USA, this is a condition of the rods and cones of the retina. They begin to lose function. No treatment or cure exists in 2010, but research is under way. Some forms of this conditioncan lead to eventual blindness, bit not all of them so do. See your eye doctor yearly for examinations. If you see flashing lights and have loss of vision to the side, these may be symptoms, so call your eye doctor.
  • Scratched Eyeglasses

Treatment for Night Blindness

November 24, 2009

Just as Macular Degeneration is treated by the AREDS nutritional aids, Night Blindness can also be treated by nutrition. The following vitamins and minerals have been found helpful.

Vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, copper, taurine, schisandra berry, black currant, ginkgo biloba, glycine, alpha lipoic acid, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin.

This combination is available as Vision Essentials, made by

Forward Nutrition

Box 1841

Arden, NC 28704

1 – 800 – 722 – 8008