Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a condition in which the macula (the part of the retina responsible for sharp reading vision) fails to function efficiently. It is a common cause of impaired reading or detailed vision—the leading cause of blindness worldwide, in fact. Macular degeneration is generally age-related.

Symptoms: Initial signs include blurred reading vision, a weakening of color vision, distortion or loss of central vision (e.g., a dark spot in the middle of your field of vision), and distortion in vertical lines.

Treatment: Although there is no cure, laser treatment can be effective in slowing the disease’s progression. As usual, early detection is key.

Prevention: Lifelong UV protection is very important. General nutrition is also believed to play a significant preventative role. Zinc may be especially helpful in this regard, particularly for zinc-deficient people like seniors. There is also some evidence to suggest that a diet high in beta carotene (vitamin A) and vitamins C and E can protect the macula. However, an over-abundance of any vitamin may affect your body’s ability to absorb important nutrients. This is a matter of some debate among health care professionals.