Macular Degeneration Explained
Why Clarifying Macular Degeneration Matters
Macular degeneration is a disease that has great relevance to eye health yet may not be a term that’s well defined or frequently discussed amongst the gaming community. With this in mind, the goal of this post is to define the disease and provide insight as to how it affects the eyes based on an article called “What is Macular Degeneration” by American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF). According to the article, “Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans — more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.”
A Closer Look
From AMDF, macular degeneration is incurable and is “caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain.” The article goes on to define the central portion of the retina as the macula and states that its responsible for focusing central vision, reading, driving, facial recognition, and seeing objects in fine detail. Taking a step back, it should be realized that this is an incredibly devastating disease that can dramatically affect daily life.
It is also important to define both dry and wet macular degeneration which refers to the presence or lack thereof of blood or serum. According to “Dry Macular Degeneration” by the same source, dry macular degeneration consists of 85%-90% of cases and does not involve the leakage of blood or serum, however, it can still cause vision issues. Conversely, “Wet Macular Degeneration” by the same source states that wet macular degeneration consists of 10%-15% of cases and involves the leakage of blood vessels under the retina and macula after newly growing there.
Stages of the Disease
Despite the severity of the disease discussed at this point, it does come in three stages with the earliest stage being somewhat innocuous. The article lists these stages as Early AMD, Intermediate AMD and Late AMD, with Early AMD noted as not causing vision loss for most people. This is “diagnosed by the presence of medium-sized drusen (yellow deposits beneath the retina).” Intermediate AMD is cited as possibly involving vision loss with or without symptoms as well. The article states that, “A comprehensive eye exam with specific tests will look for larger drusen and/or pigment changes in the retina.” Finally, at Late AMD, the article notes that vision loss is noticeable.
Causes and Solutions
Having defined the disease and spoken on its effects, questions surrounding causes and solutions are bound to emerge. The article notes that definitive factors are murky, but that age-related macular degeneration is connected to heredity and environment. From a Gamer Advantage perspective, we know that studies show that overexposure to blue light may lead to an increased risk of the disease. By reducing exposure with blue light glasses, the amount of blue light that reaches the back of the eye lessens. We found that while Mayo Clinic states that dry macular degeneration is common for individuals above 50 years old, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the average age of onset could decrease as our lives become increasingly digitized.
With Eye Candy, our multi-formula vision supplement, we also address the issue of macular degeneration. Knowing that lutein and zeaxanthin are ingredients, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA), “Many studies show that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.” The AMDF article notes that diet, exercise, avoiding smoking, and protection from ultraviolet light (also a function of Gamer Advantage glasses) help to reduce risk and potentially slow the disease as well. In short, we hope this post helped clarify what macular degeneration is and why it’s so important to take steps to prevent it.
Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash