“Research into the condition has shown that a regular nutritional supplement can significantly reduce the progression of AMD”


Sight is the disability people fear losing the most – and many older people will have their sight severely impaired by the ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ forms of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Usually affecting both eyes, either simultaneously or one after the other, AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65.

‘Dry’ AMD is a slow, progressive disorder which affects cells in the retina at the back of the eye – the area of the retina that helps us distinguish fine detail and colours. Central vision of fine detail and colour will become blurred. Straight lines may appear wavy or misshapen – and judging distances and heights becomes difficult. It means the loss of eye function essential for recognising peoples’ faces, driving, reading, watching television and performing fine tasks around the home. There is as yet no conventional treatment for ‘dry’ type AMD.

For the minority ‘wet’ type cases of AMD, laser treatment may halt the progress of the disease – if diagnosed early using prohibitively available Photodynamic Therapy (PDT).  Sadly also, recently reported NHS rationing of essential drugs means thousands of ‘dry’ AMD sufferers may be at the risk of blindness.

AMD is an age-related disorder and will become increasingly prevalent now, with greater life expectancy. Women seem to be affected more than men and short sightedness also seems to be a factor. Lifestyle factors such as smoking and unprotected eye exposure to UV sunlight are also seen to be significant.


Eye protection from improved nutrition

Research into the condition has shown that a regular nutritional supplement programme can significantly reduce the progression of AMD. The 2001 Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) in the USA found that high levels of certain nutritional supplements reduced vision loss by 19% – and the risk of advanced AMD by 25%.

Two key plant chemicals work to slow down the degenerative AMD condition. Lutein is a carotenoid said to inhibit the effects of ageing and oxidative damage to the macula. It is a natural colorant or pigment, found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Research reported in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (82 August: 907) suggests that egg yolk, corn, red grapes, orange peppers, pumpkin and courgettes should be added. However, levels of zeaxanthin are relatively low in plants. The solution can lie in fortifying the diet by taking a high-potency, multi-antioxidant.


Introducing Macuvite food supplement

Macuvite is a specially formulated food supplement designed to protect against and possibly reverse age-related vision loss. It is available exclusively from The Nutri Centre. The lutein and zeaxanthin contained in Macuvite are derived from micro algae and closely match the forms naturally occurring in the retina. Both chemicals are powerful antioxidants – so Macuvite may also be useful for fighting the free radical activity in the eyes associated with the strain brought on by prolonged working in front of a computer screen.

Research has shown that, by improving protection, damaged retinal cells that are still viable could recover. According to Dr Max Snodderly of the Scheppens Eye Research Institute in Boston, macular pigment density appears to protect the retina from loss of sensitivity – and may also be associated with clarity of the lens, thus preventing glaucoma and cataracts.


Recommended Dosage
One capsule of Macuvite should be taken each day with a hot meal – to lessen the chance of causing stomach upset and to maximise digestion and absorption. The recommended minimum period for establishing a noticeable benefit is three months.


Blue is the colour for eye health

Bilberry has been consumed for decades in Europe with reported benefits for vision and skin. In common with many other dark skinned fruits, bilberry is rich in natural pigments called anthocyanidins and is felt to be useful in supporting vascular health, including microcirculation and healthy cell membranes – making it a potential preventive measure against macular degeneration. Anthocyanidins are packed with antioxidants including the flavonoid lycopene, recognised as useful in protecting against free radical damage to the retina – often triggered by sunlight – which can lead to macular degeneration.

Anthocyanidins also have an important action in helping to support collagen; the most abundant protein in the body. This is found in high concentrations in capillary walls and seems to help strengthen capillaries, boost circulation and protect against haemorrhaging in the retina.

Lambert’s Double Strength Colladeen is derived from bilberry and grapeseed extracts, two of the richest sources of anthocyanidins. It offers a potent dose of 160mg per tablet of anthocyanidins – to help reinforce and preserve the collagen in the capillary vessels.





In Summary

There are no known adverse effects associated with dietary supplements containing lutein or zeaxanthin – when used at recommended levels. You should consult your doctor before embarking on any supplement regime but, for many people, supplementation could be an effective and relatively inexpensive way to protect against AMD.

Finally, one essential precaution is also to have regular eye check ups. Most opticians will include AMD screening in eye tests given.