Being aware of changes in our eyesight is very important as we age. Some changes are completely normal, for example it might take your eyes longer to adapt in low light and you may struggle to see things up close. Other differences such as a loss of central vision are more worrying and it’s a good idea to report anything you notice to your optometrist as soon as you can.
Sight is the sense most people fear losing most according to the RNIB, so taking care of your vision is crucial if you want to remain independent. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the UK. AMD occurs when the central part of the retina, called the macula, becomes damaged. Your macular helps you to see in fine detail. “The first thing you’ll notice with AMD is a loss of central vision,” says Dr Mark Kirby, Scientific Research Advisor at MacuVision. “You may struggle to recognise faces, read or write properly and driving may become difficult too.”
There are two types of AMD. Dry AMD is the most common form and it progresses very slowly and rarely leads to total sight loss. Wet AMD takes hold much faster and could cause blindness. Only about 10 per cent of people have wet AMD.
“Importantly, many people have what we call ‘early’ AMD, where there are early signs of degeneration at the back of your eye,” says Dr Kirby. “This damage appears as drusen, fatty deposits under your retina.” Drusen don’t cause AMD but they do increase your risk. You also won’t notice a change in your vision if you have drusen, so it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly by an optometrist. “There’s currently no cure for advanced AMD,” says Dr Kirby. “In some cases of wet AMD we are able to stop the degeneration with regular injections. But the best chance of fighting AMD is to catch it at its earliest stage.”
The experts still don’t really know what causes AMD but they do know that our lifestyle habits could make a difference. “Smoking, a diet low in fruit and vegetables and being overweight could all increase your risk of AMD,” says Dr Kirby. “It’s also important to be aware of your family history. If your parents had AMD your risk will be higher.”
Having regular eye tests will improve your chances of catching the problem early, then the best thing you can do is quit smoking if you smoke, eat more fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day) and start exercising. “These small, but sometimes difficult changes could make a real difference,” says Dr Kirby.
Research has also found that taking nutritional supplements could help in slowing down the progression of AMD. “Studies have shown that nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin, could help by building up and defending the exact part of the eye affected by AMD,” says Dr Kirby.
MacuShield is a once-a -day supplement that combines all of these scientifically proven ingredients and has been rigorously tested by leading vision scientists and is believed to be effective for halting the progress of AMD. “Apparently it had been trialled by people with AMD who reported that, not only was the supplement slowing the progression of the disease but was also helping to improve it in some cases,” says Norah Norton, who was diagnosed with AMD after experiencing problems with her eyesight.
“I started taking MacuShield and within six months I began to notice a difference,” says Norah. “One night I went out into the back garden and realised I could see the outline of the shed and the fencing. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a first.” Norah noticed other things too. The distorted lines she had been seeing started to go and driving at night was no longer a problem. It’s now been four years since Norah started taking MacuShield and these days her sight is more or less back to normal.”
Another good piece of news is that Norah has been able to return to the job she loves. This year she has organised two art exhibitions for her local authority, and there will be more in the future. “Life is hectic and enjoyable,” she says. “On both the work and domestic fronts, I’m back on track.”
“I can’t believe the difference it made”
Marjorie Wright, 76, from Melton Mowbray started taking MacuShield in January 2014.
“I love to read and I always sit at the kitchen table looking at my books. I remember looking up one day and noticing that the kitchen cupboards looked distorted and the line between the two cupboard doors was zig zagged. I put it down to reading too much, but I had the same problem the next morning.”
“When it didn’t go away I went to my optometrist for a check up, he took a photo of the back of my eye and diagnosed me with AMD. I was told I could lose my central vision and I was terrified. I play the piano, read and write and I knew I’d be miserable if I couldn’t see. My optometrist recommended MacuShield and I thought I had nothing left to lose.”
“After a few months I went back for a check up and the assistant checking my eyes shrieked and ran for the optometrist. They couldn’t believe the difference in my eyes. The health of my macular has improved no end and I definitely think my sight is better, lines are straighter now and I only see the zig zags when I get tired from reading for too long. But I can read and I’m so pleased I have something that can help me keep my eyes healthy.”
To order Macushield, call 0121 444 6585 (lines open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) or visit www.wellbeing-uk.com. Free Delivery on all UK orders.